The San Francisco 49ers and star wide receiver Anquan Boldin have agreed to a two-year contract extension, ensuring the veteran will be in Red and Gold for the immediate future in which another deep playoff run seems likely.
Boldin confirmed his return in a post on his Twitter account:
Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area and ESPN's Ed Werder reported the terms of the deal Monday:
ESPN insider Adam Schefter reported Sunday that a deal would be struck soon:
Before the deal was secured, head coach Jim Harbaugh expressed that there was a unified desire within the organization to bring Boldin back after his stellar 2013 campaign, per The Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows:
There's angst, and there's work to be done...The direction it's going is very positive because we're unanimous. It's not just me who wants Anquan Boldin back. We feel there's a process. It could be days, weeks, but there's a process, and it's going in a positive direction from the standpoint of the San Francisco 49ers...We're all in lockstep with how we feel about him.
At 6'1" and 220 pounds, Boldin plays even stronger than his formidable frame suggests and is one of the most physical receivers of his generation.
Even after piling up 380 yards and four touchdowns in the postseason en route to a Super Bowl XLVII triumph with the Baltimore Ravens, Boldin was traded for a sixth-round pick to San Francisco that offseason.
The Niners were more than happy to capitalize on a rare front-office blunder by Baltimore. Boldin made an immediate impact, hauling in 13 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown in his San Francisco debut. From there he eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving by the 15th game—the first time he'd reached that milestone since 2009.
Boldin helped fill the void left by Michael Crabtree, who missed the first 11 games of the 2013 campaign due to an Achilles injury. Without a veteran presence like Boldin in the receiving corps, the struggles young quarterback Colin Kaepernick endured may have been far worse than they were.
Barrows highlighted in December how in 2012 Crabtree was the first Niners receiver since Terrell Owens in 2003 to eclipse the 1,000-yard plateau. In that historical context, Boldin was even more of a steal.
Boldin defied the odds and flourished in the offense deigned by head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
With the Niners' playoff run ending with a 23-17 road loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game, general manager Trent Baalke was wise to work with Boldin to get a deal done, preserving a solid foundation in San Francisco.
It's feasible that the team will be a top Super Bowl contender next season and beyond, and Boldin will continue to be a big help to a thin receiving corps outside of Crabtree.
Being a member of two excellent teams would be a nice way to cap off a sensational career for the 33-year-old if he doesn't change teams again. Boldin may even be able to handle a few more years given his impressive build, ball skills and run-after-the-catch ability.
The three-time Pro Bowler made an immediate impact as a rookie in 2003 as the 54th overall pick for the Arizona Cardinals. He set a first-year NFL record with 101 receptions, including an electric debut that featured 10 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
Another shot at a Super Bowl awaits in the 2014 season. Unlike some of his prolific predecessors, Boldin isn't waning so much despite his advanced age. It's hard to put a timeline on when he will no longer produce like a No. 1 receiver, but the Niners feel confident in him at least in the foreseeable future. Doubts lingered about Boldin's abilities even heading into 2013-14—that's how he landed in the Bay Area at such a bargain.
After years of team struggles in Arizona and continually proving detractors wrong, Boldin is enjoying a great back end of his career to hang his hat on. The final chapter is yet to be written, and Boldin figures to be a fixture in San Francisco's 2014 push for the Lombardi Trophy.
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