At long last, the Buffalo Bills have signed the player they began talking with just a little before camp began. On Monday, it became official: the Bills have signed veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
Boldin, who turns 37 at the beginning of October, has been signed to a one-year contract, and ESPN reports it's worth $2.75 million to start. Boldin can also make an additional $1.25 million in incentives.
Best known for all his time with the Arizona Cardinals, the Bills will now be the wide receiver's fifth NFL stop, having also played for the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, and Detroit Lions over the course of his 14-year career. Last year with the Lions, Boldin caught 67 passes for 584 yards and eight touchdowns.
Boldin started all 16 games for Detroit in 2016.
Joe B's Take
This is a great signing for the Bills for a couple of different reasons -- the first of which is obvious.
The Bills really don't have much depth to speak of at the wide receiver position, so to bring on an experienced starter at this stage of the game can immediately upgrade both a starting spot and the spots immediately after it.
Boldin will need some time to get up to speed, but you'd have to expect that he starts working with the first-team offense before too long, especially with how Andre Holmes has struggled with catching the ball throughout training camp. At the moment, Holmes is currently working with the starting offense alongside Sammy Watkins and sometimes Zay Jones.
The Boldin signing would allow the Bills to stash Holmes as more of a special teams option, to not put too much pressure on Jones in his rookie season, and to allow depth guys like Rod Streater, Walt Powell, or others to not simply be one injury away from having a significant playing time.
The signing also doesn't bode well for players like Philly Brown, Dez Lewis, and Jeremy Butler, who have clearly fallen behind some of the others at training camp.
Secondly, it also gives the Bills a bona fide veteran receiver, that has been as consistent a player as you'll find in the NFL, to help teach the young Zay Jones what it takes to be a successful player in the NFL. That in itself is worth it's weight of the signing alone.
The contract is good for a player of his age, but just to play a minor 'wet blanket' role briefly, the age also must be factored into how impactful he can be. This is no longer peak Anquan Boldin -- at least not the one we saw earlier in his career. That's just the natural element of time taking hold.
Last season with the Lions, Boldin averaged only 8.7 yards per catch, which is nearly three yards less per catch than what he averaged with the 49ers in 2015.
That said, the Bills are getting a player that can conceivably come in and play a significant role right away, which is something that became abundantly clear for the wide receiver group to add based on what we've seen so far.