The Buffalo Bills signed veteran wide receive Anquan Boldin to a one-year deal Monday, marking the second time in three days the New York Jets saw an AFC East rival sign a veteran free agent.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the deal has a base salary of $2.75 million with another $1.25 million available in incentives.
The Bills will be Boldin’s fifth NFL team since 2003, when he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. Boldin will turn 37 in October, which may have been the major reason why he remained unsigned for so long after the Detroit Lions chose not to re-sign him. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have enough left in the tank for another year. Although he had career lows in targets (95) and receiving yards (584) last year, Boldin still caught eight touchdowns, and he was second in the league with 15 receptions in the red zone according to playerprofiler.com.
Buffalo did not have a sure WR2 opposite Sammy Watkins before this signing. The depth chart behind Watkins included Corey “Philly” Brown, Andre Holmes and 2017 second-round draft pick Zay Jones. And yet, the Bills didn’t even pick up the fifth-year option on Watkins’ rookie deal this offseason, a severe vote of no confidence in the former fourth overall pick who has struggled to stay healthy recently.
The signing comes shortly after the Miami Dolphins brought in Jay Cutler to be their new starting quarterback while Ryan Tannehill is out with a knee injury, possibly for the entire year.
What does this mean for the New York Jets?
As old as he is, Boldin is still a quality NFL receiver. The Bills run the ball more than anyone in the league, but Boldin’s arrival will help make their offense a little less imbalanced and predictable.
The Jets, you’ll recall, had fits trying (and failing) to cover the likes of Greg Salas and Marquise Goodwin when they lost to the Bills in Week 2 last year. Although the Jets’ signing of Morris Claiborne was an improvement to their group of cornerbacks, he’ll most likely be tasked with covering Watkins, leaving either Marcus Williams or Buster Skrine to cover Boldin. In fact, don’t be surprised if Boldin’s best games in 2017 come against the Jets.
We’ll find out pretty quickly, as the Jets travel to Buffalo and face the Bills to open the regular season Sept. 10.