Boldin still works out every day and believes he could continue playing in the NFL if he wanted to, though he said he hasn't put too much thought into the matter recently, Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports.
Boldin signed with the Bills last year during training camp and retired a couple weeks later to focus on humanitarian work, with his assessment of the Buffalo roster possibly a factor in the decision. He reportedly still had some level of interest in playing as of late October, but the Bills didn't surrender their rights to the 37-year-old wideout until the start of the new league year Wednesday. Boldin is free to sign with any team, but he's currently focused on his work with the Players Coalition, helping prospects prepare for the upcoming draft. While he might be enticed by an opportunity to play close to his home in Florida, neither the Dolphins nor Bucs are in need of a veteran possession receiver. The Panthers, Falcons and Saints could use a No. 3 receiver, but each of the three seems more inclined to test out younger, faster players.
The Bills released Boldin from their reserve/retired list Wednesday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports.
Boldin signed a one-year contract with the Bills last summer and then retired during the preseason. He expressed a desire months later to continue his playing career, but with Boldin unwilling to report to the Bills, the team declined to relinquish its rights to the veteran wideout. It appears the organization has since had a change of heart, and Boldin is now free to sign with another team. Even if Boldin is still eager to continue his playing career, it's hard to see him drawing significant interest, given that he's set to turn 38 years old in October.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Tuesday that the team wouldn't release its rights to Boldin and allow him to play anywhere else this season, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports. "We made a commitment to Anquan, and he made a commitment to us back in [training] camp. He left for the reasons he mentioned back in August," Beane said, alluding to Boldin's announcement that he would retire shortly after he signed a one-year deal with Buffalo.
About two months after indicating his career was over and subsequently landing on the Bills' reserve/retired list, the 37-year-old Boldin informed management that he was still interested in keeping his career going if he could play for a team closer to his home in Florida. The Bills reportedly gave Boldin and his agent permission about a week ago to speak with prospective suitors for the "sole purpose of discussing a trade," but with the veteran wideout's rights remaining with Buffalo following Tuesday's deadline for any deal, it looks likely that he'll stay retired. Rather than holding out hope that Boldin might reconsider his stance and play for them, the Bills were proactive in bolstering their weak wideout corps for the second half of the season, acquiring Kelvin Benjamin from the Panthers on Tuesday to likely serve as their new No. 1 receiver.
Boldin is interested in playing again and the Bills have given his agent permission to seek a trade with another team (the Bills hold his rights) if there's a fit, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports, per a letter ESPN obtained.
While Boldin is likely moving past his fantasy days, he did have eight touchdown catches for the Lions last season and could probably serve as a decent No. 3 receiver for someone. This is the time of year when a number of teams are working through wideout injuries, and with plenty of franchises about to go on bye it seems someone would be willing to bring in and assess Boldin, assuming the 37-year-old is truly interested in playing again after surprisingly retiring from football right before the 2017 season. It's thought that Boldin would ideally like to play closer to his Florida home, but that state's three teams are pretty well stocked at the receiver position.
Boldin announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday, Jim Trotter of ESPN reports.
While it isn't clear why Boldin is calling it quits just two weeks after signing a one-year contract with the Bills, the gritty veteran has plenty to hang his hat on as he looks back on a 14-year career, one that started with the Cardinals selecting him in the second round of the 2003 draft. Boldin immediately exploded onto the scene -- catching 10 passes for 217 yards in his first game -- and ultimately finished as the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Then, after earning three Pro Bowl nods along the way, Boldin won a Super Bowl title with the Ravens before separate, less celebrated stints with the 49ers and Lions. He'll retire ninth all time in receptions (1,076), 14th in receiving yards (13,779) and tied for 23rd in receiving touchdowns (82). As for the Bills, Boldin's departure leaves the team with even more uncertainty at receiver. Second-round rookie Zay Jones is probably the favorite to claim the starting role opposite Jordan Matthews, but former Raiders Andre Holmes and Rod Streater (toe) could make a bid as well.
Boldin caught one pass for five yards on three targets in Thursday's preseason game against the Eagles.
Boldin appeared to get snaps both outside and from the slot, after almost exclusively playing inside the past two years in Detroit and San Francisco. He may be moved around out of necessity as part of a shaky receiving corps, especially considering that Jordan Matthews (sternum) has also done his best work from the slot. With Sammy Watkins gone and Matthews sidelined, Tyrod Taylor looked horrific in Thursday's game, often forced to bail on plays and panicking on multiple occasions when he couldn't find an open man. The Bills admittedly were facing a tough opponent and still have time to cobble together a respectable passing attack before Week 1.
Boldin will make his debut for Buffalo on Thursday night in Philadelphia, Chris Brown of the Bills' official site reports.
The Bills have pretty much a brand-new receiving corps this season, while Boldin was just signed last week. Hence, much of the slotting still needs to be worked out, though Boldin is generally thought to fit at the very least in the top three and the guy most likely to work from the slot. Even at 36, Boldin remains a guy who knows who to haul in his share of catches, though no one's pretending he has breakaway speed at this stage of his career. What's odd is the Bills now have no stud receiver after trading Sammy Watkins, while several guys seemingly fit the same kind of make-up -- bigger targets with good hands that aren't known for stretching the field.
Boldin's fit within the Bills offense could be complicated by Friday's trade acquisition of Jordan Matthews, who also prefers to operate out of the slot, NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal reports.
Boldin only signed with Buffalo this week, but it's already a bit unknown how Buffalo will maximize both he and Matthews within its scheme. Fifteen years into his NFL service, Boldin no longer possesses the explosiveness needed to gain separation outside, thus restricting him to making his impact from the slot. Through his first three seasons, however, Matthews has totaled 225 catches, 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns while predominately operating from a similar spot. As a result, the Bills suddenly have a pair of slot specialists, which could prove to hurt Boldin most considering the value the team surrendered for Matthews.
Boldin, signed by the Bills on Monday, will not play in Thursday night's preseason opener against the Vikings, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports.
Boldin is still getting up to speed, and with plenty of potential roster cuts to evaluate there's no reason to rush things for the first preseason game. We expect him to see action in next week's preseason contest.
Boldin mostly worked from the slot with the starting offense Tuesday in his first practice with the Bills, Chris Brown of the team's official website reports.
Boldin mostly figures to work from the slot for a third straight season, but there's still an opportunity for him to emerge as Tyrod Taylor's second or third target in an offense that lacks proven pass catchers beyond Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy. The 36-year-old's presence likely means rookie second-round pick Zay Jones will get more work on the outside, where he's seemingly the favorite to lock down a starting job over the likes of Andre Holmes, Rod Streater and Philly Brown.
Boldin will sign a one-year contract with the Bills on Monday, Peter Schrager of NFL Network reports.
The veteran visited the Bills last month, and although he walked away without a contract at the time, he'll officially join the squad to bolster its depth at wide receiver. Considering the bevy of unproven or underwhelming options behind oft-injured No. 1 wideout Sammy Watkins, Boldin could prove to be a reliable target for Tyrod Taylor, even though his upside at this point in his career is fairly low. To his credit though, Boldin led the Lions with eight touchdown receptions in 2016, and has never caught under 55 passes or finished with under 580 receiving yards in his previous 14 NFL seasons.
Boldin visited the Bills on Monday, but left team facilities without a deal in place, Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News reports.
This doesn't mean the Bills won't sign him, but it also reveals that Boldin isn't a slam-dunk fit for Buffalo. Perhaps Boldin's contract demands were too hefty for the Bills, or maybe the veteran Boldin has another opportunity or two he wants to first explore. If Boldin does sign with Buffalo, an already difficult-to-read receiver situation beyond No. 1 wideout Sammy Watkins will be adding a few walls to the maze.
Boldin will visit with the Bills on Monday, ESPN's Dan Graziano reports.
Boldin entered free agency after accumulating 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns in his lone season in Detroit. Despite that production, the 36-year-old remains without a team. Ranked third among active players in both career receptions (1,076) and touchdown grabs (82), Boldin's average yards per catch has declined for five straight seasons, but his physical presence is still a considerable asset in the red zone and running game. Furthermore, with the Bills' wideouts rather unaccomplished behind the delicate Sammy Watkins (foot), Boldin could provide needed leadership and reliability, should his visit culminate in a contract agreement.
Boldin said on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Monday that he would "prefer to sign [with a team] right before training camp."
Boldin, now 36 years old, admitted he's intentionally waiting to sign a contract partly in order to limit the wear and tear he puts on his body. However, he referred to training camp as a "necessary evil" that all players -- even 15-year veterans -- need to go through to fully prepare for the season ahead. Following the same course of action in 2016, Boldin ultimately signed with the Lions just days before training camp and went on to post 67 receptions for 584 receiving yards and a team-high eight touchdowns across 16 games. The receiver didn't hint at where he might land this time around, instead saying he's simply looking for the best fit for him and his family.
Boldin has not been in contact with the Lions for more than a month, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports.
Boldin expressed interest in returning to Detroit when he announced his intention to play a 15th professional season, but it isn't clear if the two sides have even tried to make progress on a possible contract. The team selected wideout Kenny Golladay in the third round of the 2017 draft, and then gave Boldin's old number (80) to fourth-round selection Michael Roberts. While that doesn't necessarily rule out a return, it's clear the Lions aren't counting on having Boldin on the team. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has mentioned on multiple occasions that he'd be open to a reunion with the 36-year-old receiver.
Lions general manger Bob Quinn said the door is still open for Boldin to re-sign with the team, Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press reports. "We've had some communication with Anquan," Quinn said. "That was back in I'd say March, so really no update on our end of things. I know they said he's been communicating with a couple other teams, but nothing to update. Door's open."
Rumored to have interest in some of the draft's top wideouts, Detroit ultimately waited on the position until the end of the third round, selecting Northern Illinois product Kenny Golladay at No. 96 overall. The Lions might not mind having Golladay compete with T.J. Jones, Jace Billingsley and others for the No. 3 role, but Boldin's presence would provide some stability for an offense that otherwise appears set across the board. The 36-year-old is expected to wait until June or July to officially sign with a team. Another one of his former squads, the Ravens, has also expressed interest and has a more glaring need for receiving talent. Denver could also be a fit.
Boldin confirmed Thursday that he intends to play in 2017, Jamey Eisenberg of CBS Sports reports. "I'm still healthy, still going strong," Boldin said at his charity golf event in Pahokee, Fla. "I still have the passion."
Since the advent of free agency last month, various reports have intimated that Boldin will play a 15th NFL campaign. The only question now seems to be his landing spot. Two of his former head coaches, John Harbaugh of Baltimore and Jim Caldwell of Detroit, have expressed interest in regaining his services. After posting his most touchdowns (eight) and highest catch rate (70.5) since 2008 in the latter locale last season, Boldin may be more inclined to return to the Lions. Having said that, he isn't expected to make a decision until close to training camp, so his upcoming organization will remain unknown for some time.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Jim Caldwell suggested the team is open to re-signing Boldin, who plans to come back for a 15th NFL season, Justin Rogers of The Detroit News reports.
Boldin was a solid possession target out of the slot in Detroit last season, with his eight touchdowns and impressive catch rate (70.5 percent) making up for his lowly mark of 6.1 yards per target. He should be able to fill a similar role for at least one more season, but the cap-strapped Lions may not be willing to meet his contract expectations. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said he'd like to have Boldin back in Baltimore, where the 36-year-old wideout served as Joe Flacco's go-to receiver from 2010 to 2012. Other possible fits include the Bills, Broncos, Titans and Panthers.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said he would support bringing Boldin back to the team, ESPN's Jamison Hensley reports.
A reunion with the Ravens would make quite a bit of sense, as the team could use a veteran possession receiver to replace the retired Steve Smith. Harbaugh did acknowledge he isn't sure if Boldin would even be interested in a return to Baltimore, where he played from 2010 to 2012 alongside Joe Flacco. The Ravens traded Boldin to the 49ers during the 2013 offseason, just months after he played a starring role in the team's second championship. The 36-year-old wideout isn't expected to sign a contract anytime soon.
Boldin isn't expected to ink a contract until close to training camp, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com reports.
Boldin has already committed to a 15th NFL season, but the waiting game will likely extend well into summer, as he didn't land in Detroit last year until the cusp of training camp. Depending on how the Lions proceed through the remnants of free agency and April's draft, they may enter the offseason program with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones entrenched at the top of the depth chart, with sparse experienced WR options behind the duo. If so, another season with the NFC North runners up could be in the offing. As a slot man and key red-zone option for Matthew Stafford in 2016, Boldin reeled in 67 of 95 passes for 584 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns.