It'd seem the Buffalo Bills are out of luck at filling their most dire need this off-season. Outside of T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the free-agent lot is nothing but a Dollar General store. Stop-gap solutions at best.
But the one hot topic sweeping through the league this week could fix this predicament. Granted, Ralph Wilson's operation would need to abandon its age-old, penny-pinching tendencies.
Still, Wilson blamed Buffalo's struggles on a lack of talent – thus the decision to retain head coach Dick Jauron. If he holds true to his words, Buffalo could springboard into the Anquan Boldin bidding war. The void is painfully obvious every season. Lee Evans, while fast and explosive, isn't capable of carrying the burden alone. He needs help. The draft hasn't been sufficient – 2008 second-round pick James Hardy looked like nothing more than a basketball player on a football field as a rookie. And Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish are fringe No. 3's.
To avoid another season stock-full of three-and-outs, wasting great field position and Trent Edwards dump-offs, the Bills must land a marquee wide receiver this spring. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, as an unrestricted free agent, is likely to choose a contender - not a team that lost 8 of its last 10 games. And rumors say the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are leaning toward a putting a franchise tag on Antonio Bryant.
Which leaves Boldin as Buffalo's only shot at curing its most pressing need. Shaun McDonald doesn't cut it.
Message boards and speculation hounds throughout Internet Nation have Boldin playing for almost every team next season. Everybody wants to be a G.M. at heart. But Buffalo – which coincidentally lacks a true G.M. per se – is a realistic destination. With the NFL's healthy salary cap estimated to be $123 million, finances are not an issue. No matter how much we hear the "small town" excuse. The Bills can offer a whopping contract with the fifth-highest salary cap room in the NFL ($27 million) according to Yahoo and an unquestioned leading role in the offense…unless Evans somehow acquired 30 pounds of muscle and a desire to fight for the football in traffic.
If Boldin ignores this depressing article he may warm up to Buffalo too.
After catching 89 passes for 1,038 yards and 11 touchdowns in only 12 games last season, Boldin will draw mountains of trade proposals the moment Arizona makes him available.
According to the Arizona Cardinals' official website (doesn't get more serious than that, does it?), Boldin told his agent he will not re-sign with the Cards. He is expected to reject any re-negotiations with the team on his current deal that runs expires after the 2010 season. In short, Boldin is demanding a trade. He holds minimal leverage here with two years left on his current contract. But at the right price, Arizona is bound to listen. The Cardinals certainly aren't hurting at the position. Larry Fitzgerald is best wide receiver in the game and Steve Breaston eclipsed 1,000 yards last season.
Trading Boldin for a high first-round pick to bolster the defense may be an intriguing option for the Cardinals.
Boldin has been dominant, regardless of who is at quarterback. Despite nagging injuries and catching passes from Jeff Blake (in his twilight) and Josh McCown among other one-read quarterbacks, Boldin has averaged 81 yards per game.
Trent Edwards is a revelation compared to Blake and McCown. Boldin would extract the best out of Edwards - decision-making, accuracy on short routes, etc.
It's not rocket science. Boldin is precisely what Buffalo's offense needs, that rare-breed physical freak that single-handedly opens up an offense. Boldin plays much, much bigger than his ripped 6-foot-1, 220-pound frame suggests and would certainly trigger Evans best attribute – eating up one-on-one coverage on the deep ball.
Traditionally, the Bills do next-to-nothing to aid their young quarterbacks. Going hard after Boldin would pump life into a franchise that's been dragging its feet for a decade. If the Bills dangle the 11th overall pick to Arizona, the Cardinals will be tempted. Breaking the bank on one player sounds like a death sentence. But in this case, it could lift the Bills back into AFC East contention.