In an earlier post it was argued that the San Francisco 49ers should let Anquan Boldin leave this offseason. This is why the 49ers should make sure he returns.
The San Francisco 49ers should re-sign Anquan Boldin. Yes, he is 33 and sure, he commanded a substantial amount of the salary cap this past season at $6 million, but those figures pale in comparison to what he did for the 49ers this past season. Boldin had 85 receptions on 130 targets for 1,179 yards, according to ESPN.com, and was voted by the coaches as the Bill Walsh Award winner, given annually to the 49ers’ team MVP. In otherwords, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone with as great of an impact on the 49ers’ success this season as Boldin–at least on offense. With Michael Crabtree out for most of the season, Boldin and Vernon Davis proved to be the only two good options for struggling quarterback Colin Kaepernick to throw the ball to. The 49ers could potentially have missed the playoffs without Boldin, and then he could not have strutted his stuff against Carolina Panthers in the playoffs.
The 49ers could really use Boldin next season. So what if he is 33? He has never been a speedster. Rather, he is excellent with routes and body positioning–not to mention his insane hands, excellent leadership skills, and physical mentality. The 49ers would miss a strong presence in the locker room should he not return.
You don’t just let your MVP and best leader walk away for a couple million dollars. Colin Kaepernick has hinted at taking less than he could to accommodate some teammates–i.e. Boldin and/or Donte Whitner. If we truly want to get down to the cutthroat business that is professional football, let us take a look at a comparable contract on the offense: Frank Gore‘s. First, let’s look at Gore’s numbers, also according to ESPN.
Gore will turn 31 this offseason–a couple of years past the expiration date for most running backs. He had 276 carries for 1,128 yards–a 4.1 yard per carry average, the lowest of his career. In other words, he is in a comparable spot to Boldin as far as career trajectory: near the end. As for their contracts, Gore counted for $6.45 million while Anquan Boldin accounted for $6.00 million, according to the good lads at overthecap.com. This brings up the question as to whether or not Gore was truly worth more than Boldin this past season. Especially considering the 49ers’ depth at running back–especially with Marcus Lattimore set to make his debut this season–and lack thereof at wide receiver, I find that hard to believe. I am not saying the 49ers should cut Gore and re-sign Boldin–after all, that would accrue a cap penalty–but I do think this fact is worth pointing out.
Finally, will Boldin really command a similar salary next season? After all, the Baltimore Ravens got rid of him for a sixth round draft choice because no other team wanted to take on his salary. I doubt that interest will be in the $5-6 million range this coming season for a receiver of Boldin’s age, no matter his caliber. Especially if the 49ers can get his salary down to, say, $3 million, the 49ers would be hard-pressed to let him walk away.
Thoughts? Please post in the comments below!