The Arizona Cardinals are reported to be more friendly to trading Anquan Boldin now that he's in the last year of his contract and, barring a deal, will likely walk for nothing after the season.
With Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, and the emergence of Early Doucet, the Cardinals don't need Anquan at this point anyway. His relationship with the team has soured, and injuries have kept Boldin off the field too much as of late. Both sides seem ready for a divorce.
What that translates into for suitors is about a third-round pick and some change.
Last year the best offer Arizona got for Boldin was a second-rounder on draft day from the Chicago Bears. No one's going to come calling with a proposal like that this time around. Teams don't generally waste first-day picks on players they can nab in free agency, and as a result the Cardinals will have to settle for Boldin's 2010 market value. A third and likely a fifth- or sixth-round pick should be enough to pry him away from the desert.
The Miami Dolphins need to be at the front of the bidding line.
Dolphins czar Bill Parcells values draft picks and doesn't part with them easily, but we're not talking about a major sacrifice here. In '09, this team spent their third-round pick on USC receiver Patrick Turner and have yet to see him record a stat—the rookie was inactive for all but two of the Dolphins' games last season.
Miami later went on to take Monmouth tight end John Nalbone in round five; he didn't even last through the exhibition season. That's what the Dolphins third and fifth round selections bought them a year ago.
Is that really too much to ask for a three-time All-Pro 29-year-old with five 1,000-yard receiving seasons in seven years? For a player who would turn the Dolphins stagnant passing game into a potent force overnight?
Boldin is an elite talent at receiver. You may doubt his ability to stay healthy or question his presence in the locker room, but the production and effort on the field can't be denied. When healthy, Anquan is one of the best wideouts in the NFL.
He has an excellent combination of size, toughness, and hands. In short yardage distances, he creates outstanding separation and doesn't have issues making catches in traffic. Boldin's routes are clean, he adjusts quickly to coverage, and he has a knack for play-making.
That's exactly what this Dolphins team needs on offense right now. If Miami is going to beef up their passing game, Boldin is the way to do it. Any wideout they select in the draft won't be as productive in the short term, and the free agent choices beyond questionable names like Antonio Bryant and Kevin Walter aren't even worth mentioning as a solution.
Dolphins players like Davon Bess, Brian Hartline, and Greg Camarillo would shine beside Boldin. All of these guys are young, solid route-runners and reliable No. 2 receivers. If matched with elite talent, they would round out a serious passing game. But without him, the unit will continue to resemble a second-tier squad missing big-play ability.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins are ready to put in a serious offer as soon as March 5 arrives.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said quarterback Chad Henne was "the future of the Miami Dolphins right now." Well, if Miami truly wants to develop the second-year starter, then the front-office needs to bring him a legitimate scoring partner.
It looks like Ireland has identified Boldin as Henne's new toy for 2010. He won't regret the move.