The Miami Dolphins can’t be happy to have Anquan Boldin in the AFC East.
In his previous 14 NFL seasons the durable star from Pahokee and Florida State played in other divisions. Now, just two months from his 37th birthday, Boldin has signed a one-year deal with Buffalo for $2.75 million plus incentives.
This is a man who does not need incentives beyond the opportunity to catch lots of passes and score lots of touchdowns and make other teams wish they had signed him instead.
Miami, for reasons I have never understood, has repeatedly passed on chances to sign Boldin. Maybe because he’s not the fastest player in the league. Maybe because he’s getting older. Maybe because he’s spent most of his career in the NFC, where his steady production and intense leadership skills haven’t hurt the Dolphins that much.
Well, now Boldin will be facing Miami twice a season. He won’t always be as good as he was in Arizona’s 31-10 blowout of the Dolphins in 2008, when Boldin caught six Kurt Warner passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns, but he always is a threat in the red zone, with those post-up basketball moves and those strong hands.
Last year Boldin caught eight touchdown passes for Detroit. Kenny Stills had nine for Miami but no other Dolphins receiver came close.
Last year Boldin caught 67 passes. Jarvis Landry was the only Dolphin with more.
Over his career Boldin has 82 touchdown catches and 1,076 yards in receptions. Chalk it up to longevity if you like, but both of those numbers would be franchise records if he had played his entire career in Miami and not bouncing around from Arizona to Baltimore to San Francisco to Detroit.
Boldin will get a shot at being Tyrod Taylor’s No. 2 receiver in Buffalo opposite Sammy Watkins. I wouldn’t bet against him taking the role, just like I never bet against him on a 50-50 ball with a linebacker or a safety or even a nimble, young cornerback. Bills general manager Brandon Beane must feel the same way.
“I’ve been a big Anquan fan from afar,” said Beane, “so even if I had the likes of Jerry Rice and guys like that on this team, to get Anquan is an addition that has zero to do with where our receivers are.”
The Bills are better because of Boldin, and they weren’t that far behind Miami without him. The Dolphins’ two wins over Buffalo in 2016 were by a combined total of six points, and one of them was in overtime.
As August transactions go, Boldin’s signing doesn’t come close to the importance of Miami adding Jay Cutler.
The Dolphins can’t be happy about it, though. Boldin didn’t come to Tampa Bay or Oakland or Houston. He’s coming to the AFC East, and he’s coming, as always, with something to prove.