Will We See Anquan Boldin In Honolulu Blue Next Season?
Anquan Boldin is a first ballot hall of famer. There are 12 men in the history of the NFL with 1000 catches. Boldin is one of those men. There are 18 men with 13,000 yards receiving and Boldin is one of those as well. Twenty-one men have recorded 82 or more touchdown receptions during their NFL careers. Boldin also belongs to that group. Boldin has been to the Superbowl with three different teams, and come away with a championship once.
After 14 seasons and at the age of 36, it would be understandable if Boldin decided to call it a career. When asked for his thoughts on the future, whether he wanted to play another year his response was immediate, “I haven’t sat down with my family but there’s a passion that burns within me for football.”
Anquon Boldin’s Performance
Boldin was the team’s third wide receiver on the depth chart. There was only a 50 snap difference between Boldin and Marvin Jones, the Lions leader at the position. He was second on the team in receptions, and fourth in receiving yardage. Bolden led the Lions wide receivers in touchdowns, percentage of targets caught, receptions on third down for a first down, and receptions inside the red zone.
The Lions were eighth in the league in third down conversions because of Anquan Boldin. Without his contribution, the Lions would have been far worse than 17th in red zone efficiency. Boldin was 32nd among receivers in receptions, and 65th in yardage averaging only 8.7 yards per reception, the lowest among wide receivers with 50 or more receptions. His reception total dropped by only two year over year, but the average dropped by 2.3 yards per catch. He was used very differently by the Lions than the 49ers, where he led the team in receptions by 36 in 2015.
Anquan Boldin’s Contract
The Lions picked Boldin up on an incredibly inexpensive deal in 2016 relative to his production. Boldin was the 50th highest paid receiver in the NFL, with a cap hit of $2.75 million. At his age, it is difficult to imagine a long line of suitors looking to increase his income. There really are no comparable contracts, the number of receivers in the NFL at his age who are still producing is one name long: Anquan Boldin.
Boldin would likely not continue to play without significant financial motivation. It is unlikely that the Lions would get his services for any less than that. It is likely that Boldin signs a one year deal for $2.75 to $3 million somewhere. There is an outside chance that a team gives him a two year deal to increase the amount he makes in 2016 without increasing his cap number as much, but the second year of that deal is unlikely to be played.
So Should the Lions Keep Anquan Boldin?
Yes. Without Anquan Boldin the Lions offense would have been a train wreck this season. All he does at this point is the important stuff. More than a quarter of his receptions were third down catches to move the chains. The Lions offense needs someone to do what Boldin does. He fills a role that would otherwise be a huge gap in the Lions passing game. Matthew Stafford leaned on Boldin in almost all of those come from behind victories we all enjoyed so much. The only question is whether the Lions believe he can do it one more time.
I would bet that he can.
*Edited to include youtube video on 1/24/17*