Lost in free agency’s veteran running back roulette and retirement rumblings is the fact that a potential future Hall of Fame wide receiver is still without a job, despite wanting one.
At 36 years old, Anquan Boldin ranks ninth on the all-time receptions list, just two catches behind Terrell Owens, and 14th on the all-time receiving yards list. But he is coming off his least productive season of his career in Detroit. The 15-year veteran averaged 8.7 yards per reception and saw a career-low 95 targets from Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was spending his first year without Calvin Johnson.
But with his career window closing and the market for his services shrinking, Boldin doesn’t want to hang them up just yet.
“I’m still healthy, still going strong,” Boldin told CBSSports.com on Thursday at a charity golf event for the Q81 Foundation. “I still have the passion.”
Where will Boldin end up? The likeliest destinations are ones with which he is already familiar, namely the Ravens and Lions, two franchises that are perennially receiver-poor and have expressed interest this offseason.
Boldin played under coach John Harbaugh with the Ravens for three seasons before he traded the wideout to his brother, Jim, in San Francisco. After some time apart, the Ravens coach is definitely open to a reunion.
“I know he loved it in Baltimore, and I loved him in Baltimore,” Harbaugh said last week at the Annual League Meeting. “Didn’t want him to have to leave when it happened. That’s just the way it all worked out. But I’d be for (a return).“
Lions general manager Bob Quinn offered similar thoughts at the Meeting, saying,”I’ve put him in the category of guys that we’ve talked to here in the last couple of months. … So he’s definitely an option. We haven’t made any decision on that one way or the other, but he’s still out there.”
Baltimore could use another reliable body for Joe Flacco to throw to, having lost Steve Smith Sr. to retirement — and our airwaves — in the offseason and relying instead on Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman for big yardage. That the Ravens are always in playoff contention would make Charm City an even sweeter landing spot for Boldin. Detroit has postseason aspirations as well, but the Lions might be content to take a swing at a receiver in the draft.
Don’t expect Boldin to sign before he has to. The aging wideout told CBSSports.com that he likely won’t sign with a team until it’s closer to training camp. That way Boldin can avoid the taxing mini-camps and mandatory “voluntary workouts” that drain young players’ spirits in the offseason.
Savvy strategy from a consummate professional.