We've all heard of the Anquan Boldin situation, and how the Arizona Cardinals aren't exactly satisfying his salary wants, and he's already stated that the chances of him returning are doubtful. Boldin has established himself as one of the top twenty or so wide receivers in the NFL in just six seasons. So, since Boldin could be one of the top catches for a receiver-seeking team, who should heavily pursue Boldin?
Tampa Bay makes so much since; they are projected to be about $42 million under the cap in 2009, which is the most under in the NFL. Raheem Morris, the successor of Jon Gruden, needs to make a move to win over the fans in Tampa Bay with some kind of move this offseason with so much cap room.
And its not just that the Buccaneers should sign him for the heck of having him; they have one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL. Antonio Bryant seems to be Jeff Garcia's only decent target, with Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard on the sidelines more than on the field. Teams are going to double team Bryant next season and make him ineffective, and the other receivers just aren't ready to take a lot of spotlight from secondaries.
Boldin makes a ton of sense, and I think that Tampa Bay should heavily pursue him, since he and Bryant would make a good 1-2 and heavily improve the offensive talent for Tampa Bay, which is aging.
Tennessee also makes a lot of sense for Boldin. The Titans haven't had a go-to guy at wide receiver since Derrick Mason, but Justin Gage and Brandon Jones are peeking with impeccable timing. Throw Boldin in the Titans receiver mix, who are $34 million under the cap.
Boldin should also help Vince Young, who looks like the next guy after Kerry Collins leaves. Young has always seemed uncomfortable throwing to wide receivers, and could really improve his intermediate and long range passes. Boldin, who is known for his crisp route running could pay dividends in the long run for Young's NFL future, who really could be a good quarterback with his size and mobility.
The fact that Tennessee picks 30th in the first round is also a bit of help, so they won't have to dole out as much cash to their rookies. Line up Boldin and Gage in the flankers with the speedy Jones in the slot and suddenly Tennessee's receivers are good.
The Bills have a young offense with some good talent, but are a player or two away. Boldin, who would line up across from Lee Evans, would be a perfect fit in Buffalo. Trent Edwards, who needs a target besides the constantly double teamed Evans, could really use Boldin for the same reasons as Young of the Titans.
The Bills have a lot of needs on their defensive line, but since they select 11th, they can nab a top defensive end, say Brian Orakpo, with their first round draft pick. The Bills, who are $27 million under the salary cap, have some room to work with, so Boldin could make a ton of sense.
Throw in Boldin with the young group of receivers. With him, James Hardy, Lee, and Steve Johnson, you have four receivers you can put out on the field at any one time.
Name a 49ers receiver. Go ahead. After pondering for a moment (unless you're a fan) you probably came up with Isaac Bruce. Well guess what? He's 36 years old. Though he had a solid season this year, he's going to run out of gas sooner or later. Also on the roster are Josh Morgan, Bryant Johnson, Jason Hill, and Arnaz Battle, all who are still unpolished receivers.
During his short coaching tenure in San Francisco, head coach Mike Singletary has already proven that he isn't your average coach, and we know from his NFL career is that he expects the best out of everyone when he lead the Chicago Bears defense some 25 years ago as the captain of a talent-heavy defense. Singletary is going to make a move, I'm nearly positive. Boldin is probably on his short list of people to bring into the organization.
Frank Gore is a top tier halfback in the NFL, but he needs a passing game to take some pressure off of him. Boldin, along with the committee of receivers and Vernon Davis, is definitely better than just the last two. The 49ers caught some fire late last season, going 5-2 in the last seven weeks of the season. Boldin will keep the flames alive with his crisp route running and catching ability.
The Giants are on my list of teams this year of teams who are going to underachieve compared to their last season or two. The wheels came off at the end of the season when Plaxico Burress was suspended for the rest of the year in Week 14, and the Giants went an abysmal 1-4.
The Giants receivers are well under par without Burress, with Amani Toomer pushing 35 this September. Domenik Hixon picked it up late last season, but he is a slot receiver with his weight being so low. Who knows if he'll keep it up? Steve Smith was fairly consistent but fell on the depth chart late in the season. Between Sinorice Moss, Derek Hagan, and Mario Manningham, there were 19 catches. Kevin Boss, the tight end, was a bit disappointing and inconsistent compared to his big postseason in 2008.
Boldin is needed to help out Eli Manning, who seemed to slip a bit late in the season. His passer rating eclipsed 77 once in the last five games. Boldin, whose skill set is very similar to Burress (and is probably better), should be an instant replacement, whether New York decides to bring Burress back or not.
Who doesn't have room for a 28-year old wide receiver who records 89 catches for 1,038 yards and 11 touchdowns in just 12 games? And on top of that, on a roster with Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston?
Boldin could go anywhere with his abilities, but these five teams above are the ones who should heavily pursue him.