The 2016 NFL free agency period was pretty intense, but it’s long been died down and we’re knee-deep in the month of July. Needless to say, if there are any marquee NFL players still hoping to latch on with a new team, the clock is ticking.
Usually quality players aren’t still without teams this late in the game, but some veterans prefer to wait for the best possible situation – and maybe also so they can miss on some (or all) of their new team’s training camp. That could be why veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin hasn’t found a new home yet, and why he hasn’t agreed to stay on with the San Francisco 49ers.
Perhaps he and the Niners have a deal under the table, where he’ll return to the team just in time for preseason action in August. That, or maybe San Francisco and other NFL teams are scared that Boldin’s poor 2015 run was a sign of things to come.
Regardless, interest in Boldin is heating up and if that deal doesn’t exist and the 49ers want to bring him back, they may want to start reaching out to their former #1 wideout.
Boldin may be 35 years old and in decline, but he’s proven toward the end of his career that he can still run crisp routes and attack the football in the air with the best of them. Naturally, even with diminished speed and explosiveness, Boldin can still make plays and can still be an asset. He shouldn’t be anyone’s answer at the #1 receiver spot, but he still brings experience, leadership and most of all value to the table.
Lucky for him, there are some teams that either are already interested in him or lack depth and certainly should be. Here’s our favorite five NFL franchises that could/should give Boldin a new deal:
New Orleans Saints
Reports have come out hot that the Saints have emerged as Boldin’s main suitor and to this point are making the “strongest push” to bring him in.
The Saints are considering signing veteran receiver Anquan Boldin https://t.co/OwfMYpgeG0
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 14, 2016
The needs doesn’t exactly match up for a Saints team that just cut ties with the aging Marquess Colston and has a nice crop of receivers in Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead and rookie Michael Thomas. That being said, perhaps the team likes his physicality and willingness to go after contested balls. If so, they could make a signing in the near future.
There is no denying Detroit’s possible interest in Anquan Boldin, as they watched star wide receiver Calvin Johnson retire this off-season.
Adding Boldin wouldn’t take care of that loss, but the Lions don’t have a ton to get excited about beyond Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. Boldin could slide in as a competent third option behind those two, and suddenly Matthew Stafford’s depleted arsenal looks a little less bare.
Cincinnati is certainly in play, both because they lost two veteran receivers to free agency and because they’ve actually been tied to Boldin in rumors.
— Pro Football Rumors (@pfrumors) July 10, 2016
There’s nothing concrete here, but the Bengals really only brought in Brandon LaFell and otherwise have unproven talent beyond A.J. Green. Even if they’re wanting Boldin as a third or fourth option, he’d at least give them a steady presence that isn’t afraid to go over the middle of the field.
Quarterback Andy Dalton would probably appreciate the extra target that knows what he’s doing, while the Bengals had the makings of a title contender last season. That could be appealing to a guy entering his finals NFL years.
There have not been any direct ties between Boldin and the Falcons, but perhaps there should be. It’s true that Atlanta just parted with an aging commodity in Roddy White, but there is still a need with Justin Hardy looking like their current best bet to occupy their third receiver role.
Hardy isn’t exactly reliable, while it’s possible Boldin still has more left in the tank than White seemed to last year. The Falcons are otherwise hanging their hats on Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, and little else.
San Francisco 49ers
The only other realistic option is Anquan Boldin returning to the Bay Area, where he’s spent each of his last three seasons. The Niners absolutely still have a need, too, with there not being much experience or stability after Torrey Smith.
To this point it hasn’t seemed like new head coach Chip Kelly has been overly interested in bringing Boldin back, however. The Niners do have a need at the position, but it’s more likely than not that they will let Smith sit in as the top option and see if their younger guys can fill out the other roles.
Think Anquan Boldin is done, headed to one of the teams we mentioned or somewhere else entirely? Tell us all about it in the comments below!