For the second consecutive offseason, Boston had to wait until late July to land a new contract as a free agent. Last year, Boston landed only a $1.5MM deal from the Cardinals, so he’ll now realize a 100% raise for the 2019 campaign, one in which he’ll play for the club that originally drafted him.
Boston was a fourth-round choice of the Panthers in 2014 and subsequently spent three seasons in Carolina, starting 10 games in his final year with the team. He was cut with one year remaining on his rookie contract, and was then signed to subsequent one-year pacts by the Chargers and Cardinals. In both campaigns, Boston started at least 13 games, played at least 950 defensive snaps, and graded among the top 30 safeties in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.
In 2017, Boston was caught up in a stagnant free agent safety market which saw several starting-caliber players — including Boston’s new teammate Eric Reid — languish on the open market for months. This offseason, however, defensive backs Landon Collins, Tyrann Mathieu, Earl Thomas, Lamarcus Joyner, and Adrian Amos each landed at least $9MM in free agency, but Boston was nonetheless left without a deal.
Carolina can use all the help it can get against opponents’ deep passing attacks, and Boston — who is deployed as a deep safety on nearly snap — can help. Last season, the Panthers ranked just 29th in yards per play allowed on passes of more than 15 air yards, and finished 27th in Football Outsiders‘ DVOA against deep passes.
Some of the blame for that lackluster performance can be placed on Mike Adams, who served as the Panthers’ primary free safety in 2018. Adams, who last year at age-37 posted arguably the worst season of his lengthy career, was not re-signed this offseason. He’ll be replaced by Boston, who along with Reid will form one of the league’s most underrated safety duos.