Anquan Boldin

AFC East Rumors: Bills, Boldin, Jets, Pats

The Bills have not contacted the Browns about trading for the No. 1 overall pick, a source tells Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

The Bills moved up to the No. 12 selection in the Cordy Glenn trade with Cincinnati and they also hold the No. 22 overall pick in the draft, fueling speculation that they could vault into the top five to select their quarterback of the future. However, it’s hard to imagine the Browns trading down from No. 1 and passing up a chance to get their favorite QB, despite GM John Dorsey‘s proclamation that he is open to a deal. The Bills are effectively blocked from moving up to No. 3 after the Jets acquired that pick from the Colts, so one has to wonder if the Bills will look to engage the Giants for the No. 2 pick. Then again, the Giants also seem unlikely to move down given their need for a successor to Eli Manning or a playmaker like Saquon Barkley.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Anquan Boldin says he hasn’t thought about whether he could play again, but he’s confident that he could pick up where he left off. “Definitely,” Boldin said (via Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun). “If I wanted to, I know I could.” Boldin was released from the Bills‘ reserve/retired list last week, fueling speculation that he could return to the field. Boldin will turn 38 in October, which is well past the expiration date for a wide receiver. He also averaged just 8.7 yards per reception in 2016, his last NFL season.
  • Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue is facing even more legal trouble. In addition to his recent DWI arrest after crashing into a bus while going the wrong way in the Lincoln Tunnel, Donahue is facing a drunken driving charge in Montana, according to ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. Donahue is one of several Jets players with legal issues and one has to imagine that his roster spot is in jeopardy.
  • The Patriots are among the teams interested in former Bills wide receiver/special teams ace Marcus Easley now that he’s back to full health, league sources tell Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The Giants also have interest, per Wilson.

Extra Points: Boldin, Burfict, Mathieu, Saints

Anquan Boldin may not be done playing in the NFL, as he said today that he hasn’t made a decision on the future of his career, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Boldin signed a one-year deal with the Bills last August, but retired just two weeks later. The 37-year-old expressed some interest in returning during the 2017 season, but the Bills had no intention of releasing him. Buffalo has now done so, as it cut Boldin from the reserve/retired list this week. For what it’s worth, the Patriots and Boldin reportedly had mutual interest last September.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is expected to argue that his four-game performance-enhancing drug suspension should be overturned given that he was using prescription medications to recover from injury after he’d already been ruled out for the season, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. If Burfict’s ban is upheld, the remaining $11.3MM guarantee on his contract will void, meaning Cincinnati could potentially move on without any financial consequences. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, Burfict is hoping an arcane section of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement will save him, but the league is unlikely to overturn his suspension.
  • Former All Pro defensive back Tyrann Mathieu had an offer to return to the Cardinals at an $8MM salary, tweets Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. The 25-year-old Mathieu declined the overture, and instead signed with the Texans for one year and $7MM. the Mathieu was a Pro Bowler and one of the NFL’s best defensive backs as recently as 2015, but he’s struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness over the past two seasons. Last year, Mathieu managed to start all 16 games, but only graded as the league’s No. 61 cornerback among 121 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.
  • Although the Saints received a salary cap credit as a result of their Nick Fairley grievance, the grievance itself has not been settled, per Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune (Twitter link). That $3MM credit was only related to Fairley’s signing bonus, so the Saints are presumably trying to recoup a portion of Fairley’s base salary after he was forced to sit out the 2017 campaign with a heart condition. For what it’s worth, Fairley hopes to play during the upcoming season, but it’s difficult to imagine any team medically clearing him.
  • The Steelers curiously signed restricted free agent punter Jordan Berry to a one-year extension with a similar salary to the RFA tender, and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com has explained the club’s rationale. Berry, a native Australian, would have been considered unemployed if he returned to his home country without an RFA tender in place, meaning his work authorization paperwork could have taken extra time. Given that he’s getting married this year, Berry didn’t want to deal with any confusion, so Pittsburgh obliged him by giving him a one-year deal, the value of which has sent been altered to match the original round tender figure of $1.907MM.

Bills Release WR Anquan Boldin

Here’s an interesting one – the Bills have released Anquan Boldin from the reserve/retired list, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes. The move allows him to sign with another team, if he wants to continue playing.

A quick refresher on the Boldin saga: the veteran wide receiver signed with the Bills during training camp, but retired less than two weeks later. During the season, Boldin’s agent requested his release, but he was denied by GM Brandon Beane. At one point in time, the rival Patriots had interest in signing him.

We made a commitment to Anquan, and he made a commitment to us back in [training] camp,” Beane said in November. “He left for the reasons he mentioned back in August. We invested in him — invested time and committed to him — and we wouldn’t want to just put him out on the market to see him go sign with the Patriots or the Dolphins or anybody that can get in our way or work against us.”

Boldin, 38 in November, is free to do as he pleases. But, given his age and his remarkably low 8.7 yards per reception in 2016, it’s not clear what he has left to offer.

Bills GM: We Will Not Release Anquan Boldin

Leading up to the deadline, Anquan Boldin expressed interest in returning to football for a team other than the Bills. Buffalo allowed him to seek a trade, but nothing came to fruition before Tuesday’s 4pm ET/3pm CT deadline. Now that the deadline has come and gone, GM Brandon Beane reiterated that the team will not grant him his release. Anquan Boldin (vertical)

We made a commitment to Anquan, and he made a commitment to us back in [training] camp,” Beane told SiriusXM (transcript via ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak). “He left for the reasons he mentioned back in August. We invested in him — invested time and committed to him — and we wouldn’t want to just put him out on the market to see him go sign with the Patriots or the Dolphins or anybody that can get in our way or work against us.”

The Bills have surprised everyone by getting off to a 5-2 start and one would think that Boldin would be eager to play for a playoff contender. However, it sounds like Boldin is hoping to play closer to his family in Florida. Meanwhile, Beane is not expecting the 37-year-old to have a change of heart about suiting up for Buffalo.

Last year, Boldin had perfect attendance for the Lions in the regular season and hauled in 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns. He still has some football left in the tank, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll show his stuff in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Patriots, Bills, Dolphins, Eagles

Chris Hogan won’t require surgery for the shoulder injury he suffered on Sunday, but his need for rest and recovery means the Patriots wideout could miss a few weeks, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). New England heads into a bye in Week 9, so Hogan will be re-evaluated before the Pats face the Broncos in Week 10. In his second season in New England, Hogan ranks second among Patriots receives in catches (33) and yards (438), and is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with five.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Bills general manager Brandon Beane expects veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin to stay retired now that he wasn’t traded at the deadline, tweets Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. Beane & Co. allowed Boldin — who expressed interest in returning from a brief retirement — to seek a trade, but he presumably wasn’t able to find a suitable landing spot. Buffalo had already expressed that it wouldn’t consider releasing Boldin, who inked a one-year deal with the club earlier this season. The 37-year-old Boldin could still return to the Bills, although Beane’s comments suggest that isn’t a likely outcome.
  • Offensive lineman Ted Larsen has been designated to return by the Dolphins, reports veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). This was the expected outcome for Larsen (who is dealing with a torn biceps), as reports as early as September indicated Larsen was a candidate to play again in 2017. Miami placed starting guard Anthony Steen on injured reserve earlier today, so Larsen — who is eligible to return as soon as this weekend — could be immediately inserted into the Dolphins’ lineup.
  • Eagles left tackle Jason Peters is done for the season after suffering a torn ACL, but the veteran blindside protector is financially protected for the 2018 campaign, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (Twitter link). Under the terms of the one-year extension Peters inked in June, he has a $4.5MM injury guarantee that becomes fully guaranteed in March. Because Peters likely won’t be able to pass a physical before the 2018 league year begins, he’ll be able to collect his salary, whether he’s on the Philadelphia roster or not.

Bills Won’t Release Anquan Boldin

The Bills have no intention of releasing wide receiver Anquan Boldin from his contract, but could still trade the veteran wideout per his request, as general manager Brandon Beane told reporters, including Joe Buscaglia of WKBW (Twitter link).Anquan Boldin

[RELATED: Bills Trade Marcell Dareus To Jaguars]

Boldin, 37, signed a one-year, $2.75MM deal with Buffalo earlier this year, but retired in August after the club traded away wide receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Ronald Darby. However, Boldin now wants to make a comeback and would like to be traded or have the Bills release his rights. Beane told reporters that he “doesn’t expect much” in terms of trade offers for Boldin, which could mean the longtime NFL wideout could stay put through Tuesday’s trade deadline.

While Beane has not personally spoken with Boldin, the GM said Boldin would prefer to play closer to his Florida residence, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Additionally, Beane wouldn’t rule out Boldin returning to the Bills, who have surprised with a 4-2 record and coincidentally boast one of the league’s worst wide receiving corps.

In 2016, Boldin appeared in all 16 games for the Lions, and managed 67 receptions for 584 yards and eight touchdowns. While the yardage total was the lowest of Boldin’s career, his eight scores were the most he’s posted since 2008. Boldin, a three-time Pro Bowler, played on 80% of Detroit’s offensive snaps as the club’s third receiver behind Golden Tate and Marvin Jones.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Anquan Boldin Interested In Playing Again; Bills Open To Trade

Anquan Boldin retired during the Bills’ preseason slate after a brief stay in Buffalo and ruled out a late-season return previously, but the veteran wide receiver looks to have changed his mind to some degree. He’s interested in playing again, and the Bills are open to trading his rights.

The Bills gave Boldin’s agent, Tom Condon, permission to seek a trade. Brandon Beane wrote Condon a letter (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com) Thursday granting him permission to pursue a Boldin trade.

Beane notes in the letter a factor here could be proximity to Boldin’s family. A report emerged over the summer Boldin was looking to play closer to his home in Florida, and while no reported interest is known from the Dolphins, Buccaneers or Jaguars, Beane including this language in his letter adds weight to Boldin being interested in moving south for a possible return. The Florida State alum has never played for a southeastern-based NFL team.

This letter prohibits Boldin from discussing a new contract with another team and does not give the would-be 15th-year veteran permission to make visits. It also notes the Bills’ offer for Boldin’s camp to find a trade partner expires on the Halloween trade deadline. It doesn’t sound like Beane is too interested in relinquishing Boldin’s rights and letting him sign with another team as a UFA.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mutual Interest Between Patriots, Boldin

Anquan Boldin retired from football this summer and he swears that he is retired for good. However, there was mutual interest between the wide receiver and the Patriots in the wake of Julian Edelman‘s injury, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe hears. Anquan Boldin

It doesn’t sound like there’s anything brewing between the two sides at the moment, particularly since the Bills continue to hold his rights after placing him on the reserve/retired list. It’s hard to see a scenario in which the Bills cut Boldin loose to sign with a divisional rival, particularly since his retirement left them high and dry after trading Sammy Watkins to Los Angeles.

Boldin turns 37 in October, but he showed last year that he can still be productive. Boldin joining up with the Patriots seems unlikely, but his itch to play is worth keeping in mind as the season goes on.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fallout From Julian Edelman Injury

Tom Brady offered hopes Julian Edelman could come back this season after the Patriots‘ third preseason game Friday night, but after the team confirmed earlier today the ninth-year wideout tore his right ACL, the Pats will have to adjust again. The team’s primary slot receiver post-Wes Welker, Edelman recorded a career-high 1,106 receiving yards last season and played in 16 games. Edelman missed nearly half the season in 2015, and Brady’s production dipped without his top volume target. The iconic quarterback’s completion rate plummeted from 68 percent in nine Edelman games to 60 percent in seven contests without him. But the Patriots, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes, are deeper now and are expected to use a group effort to replace the 31-year-old receiver.

New England now employs Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan, along with second-year player Malcolm Mitchell and a slew of viable receiving backs. Danny Amendola served as Edelman’s primary replacement in 2015, and the veteran figures to be part of the solution two years later. Florio uses New England’s 2016 Super Bowl run as an example of the resourceful team winning without a key pass-catcher. While the Pats won Super Bowl LI without Rob Gronkowski‘s services down the stretch, it’s hard to bank on the all-world tight end being available throughout this now-Edelman-less season. That said, Gronkowski did play in 15 games in both 2014 and ’15. Brady’s only played one game without Gronk or Edelman — 2015 loss to the Eagles — since the pair became the Patriots’ top chain-movers four years ago.

Here’s the latest fallout from the injury situation.

  • AFC execs and coaches concur with Florio’s assessment, to some degree. “They’ll find another way to do it. So initially, [it’ll hurt them] some, but in the end not much at all,” an AFC coach texted Albert Breer of SI.com. Another added: “Amendola will have to stay healthy and pick up the slack. It won’t be easy, but they’ll make it work.” The 31-year-old Amendola reworked his contract again this offseason to stay with the Pats in what is the final year of his deal. Amendola amassed 243 air yards last season. “Health of others is key,” an AFC exec said, via Breer. “Amendola and [Gronkowski] need to stay healthy, but their offense is diverse enough to pick it up.”
  • Edelman will still make nearly $7MM this season, with Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link) relaying that in addition to his $3MM base salary, the slot bastion collected $3.5MM of his signing bonus and $250K workout bonus. Edelman, though, will miss out on $750K in per-game roster bonuses and a possible $500K in incentives, via Volin (on Twitter).
  • Anquan Boldin retired from the Bills last weekend and would be an intriguing fit if the 36-year-old pass-catcher could be convinced to delay his busy-looking post-career endeavors, but Volin tweets Buffalo placed Boldin on its reserve/retired list. The Bills hold his rights and would have to relinquish them to green-light a Boldin/Patriots future. Boldin also said a day after his retirement intentions surfaced he won’t make a late-season return, insisting he’s done with the game.
  • Edelman will stick around Foxborough to do his rehab, Volin tweets, likely offering help to his replacements as they attempt to fill the void created by the absence of one of the game’s top slot targets.

Anquan Boldin Rules Out Late Season Return

After less than two weeks in Buffalo, Anquan Boldin informed the team that he is retiring. The timing is unusual, but Boldin insists that he is not leaving the sport simply to get away from the Bills. He also insists that he is retired for good. Anquan Boldin (vertical)

[RELATED: Anquan Boldin Retires From NFL]

I’m done with the sport of football,” Boldin said when asked about the possibility of hooking on with a contender late in the season (via Ross Tucker of SiriusXM on Twitter). “My passion is elsewhere.”

That passion, he says, is to help heal the great social and political divide in the United States. When asked about what changed his mind in recent weeks, he cited the events in Charlottesville and did not mention the team’s blockbuster trades.

I’m uncomfortable with how divided we are as a country. This is not a fly by night decision. It’s something I want to dedicate my life to,” Boldin said.

After dedicating his life to the sport throughout his amateur days and 14 NFL seasons, one can hardly blame Boldin for switching gears. When he celebrates his 37th birthday in October, Boldin will be doing something other than playing football.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.