The Arizona Cardinals will need to add a wide receiver this offseason. Former Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin is a free agent, but a Boldin homecoming is not likely.
The Arizona Cardinals (and their fans) were relieved when Larry Fitzgerald announced that he will return for the 2017 season. Even with Fitzgerald back in the fold, the Cardinals will likely need to add a receiver in the upcoming offseason.
This realization has led some Cardinals fans to entertain the idea of free agent Anquan Boldin returning to the desert.
The appeal is understandable. When a talented player leaves an organization early in their career – as was the case with Boldin – fans can be left with a longing for what might have been. A homecoming offers fans an opportunity to find closure.
When a talented player leaves an organization early in their career – as was the case with Boldin – fans can be left with a longing for what might have been. A homecoming offers fans an opportunity to find closure.
However, many fans will recall that Boldin’s departure from the Cardinals was somewhat contentious.
As such, it is uncertain whether he would be amenable to rejoining the organization that drafted him in 2003. There is an adage that time heals all wounds, but only Boldin can say for certain where he stands on the matter.
For the sake of argument, however, let us set aside the question of Boldin’s disposition toward the Arizona Cardinals. Even with this consideration bracketed, signing Anquan Boldin does not make sense for the Arizona Cardinals.
When considering any free agent, it is important to consider scheme fit. Coach Bruce Arians tends to favor two types of receivers in his offense – smallish burners on the outside like John Brown, J.J. Nelson, T.Y. Hilton, and Antonio Brown, and physical slot receivers who can block like Larry Fitzgerald and Hines Ward.
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Speed has never been Boldin’s forte, so he is not a fit on the outside. He does fit the mold of a physical receiver who can block, however this role is already aptly filled by one Larry Fitzgerald.
With this in mind, Boldin’s most likely fit on the roster would be to provide depth for the receiving corps.
Even if Boldin were willing to sign with the Cardinals in such a capacity – a dubious question in itself – the roster spot would be better employed as an opportunity to groom a young receiver to take over in the slot when Fitzgerald retires.
As compelling as a homecoming story might be, it does not seem likely for Anquan Boldin and the Arizona Cardinals.