Boldin a perfect fit for the Bills

The veteran wide receiver is exactly what the Bills are looking for

Howard Simon
August 08, 2017 - 10:29 am

The Buffalo Bills are better today than they were yesterday. It doesn’t mean I think they’ll have a winning record; it doesn’t mean I now believe they will make the playoffs this season, but they added a good player at a position of need. That’s what the signing of Anquan Bolding means to me. The move makes sense for the Bills on a number of levels.

The receiving corps is immediately upgraded. The top-three the Bills will now field will likely be Sammy Watkins, Zay Jones and Boldin. Prior to the signing, Andre Holmes was probably the third player in that group. Is anybody going to try and say Boldin isn’t better than Holmes? Even at age 36 (37 in October), Boldin is better than anybody else in that mish-mash of receivers competing for a spot on the 53-man roster.

When it comes to the kind of player Sean McDermott/Brandon Beane are looking for, Boldin checks everything on their list. McDermott talks about accountability, reliability, durability and availability. Boldin is all of that and more. He is still productive on the field, coming off an eight-touchdown season at Detroit in 2016. But he also brings leadership and a strong work ethic to a fairly young group of receivers. I’m sure the Bills are hoping Boldin will rub off on guys like Watkins and Jones.

For those of you who believe Tyrod Taylor hasn’t gotten a fair shake the last two years, here’s another weapon to help the Bills quarterback. A proven, veteran receiver who has no problem going over the middle to make catches and a player who can win one on one battles for those 50-50 balls. It's up to Taylor to make those throws, but he now has someone on the roster who can come through in both of those areas.

In addition to all of that, Boldin should be a major asset in the red zone and on a team that is still planning to make running the ball its strength, Boldin is a very physical blocker who can help on the edge.

The Bills gave him a low risk, one year deal for $2.75 million although it could go up to $4 million with incentives. That is the equivalent of a bag of peanuts when it comes to NFL salaries for a proven player with his resume and the Bills have the cap room.

Boldin’s productivity can’t be questioned. He had back to back seasons of 1,000 yards receiving at age 33 and 34. His catches and yards were down last year in Detroit but he was the third option in the passing game behind Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. Still, Boldin was on the field for 80% of the Lions offensive snaps and the eight touchdowns were the third highest single season total in his 14 year NFL career. Boldin has been durable as well, having missed just five of 112 games since he turned 30. 

I don’t think there is any downside to this move but if you’re looking for one, the only thing I could think of is that Boldin’s presence takes snaps, targets, playing time away from Zay Jones. But I think the receiver who really loses out here could be Andre Holmes. Holmes gave his number, 81, to Boldin and Holmes might be out a roster spot eventually.  

Holmes slides down a spot on the receiver depth chart and goes into the mix with Philly Brown, Rod Streater and Brandon Tate in a battle for those final receiver spots. My guess is Tate makes the team because of his special teams/return abilities. Streater has looked very good at camp and has improved his standing. That could leave Holmes and Brown for one spot. Keep in mind, Holmes is one of the players who if released by the Bills would lead to the team receiving a compensatory third or fourth round pick in next year’s draft. It wouldn’t just be Holmes. He’d have to be released with some other of their off season signings. 

If all of this isn’t enough to make you happy about the Boldin signing, if you are a fan of James Bond, how could you not like a player whose nickname is Q being added to the roster?

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