It was less than a month ago that 36-year-old wide receiver Anquan Boldin signed on for the 2017 season with the Buffalo Bills. But on Sunday, ESPN’s Jim Trotter reported that the veteran has chosen to hang up his cleats and call it a career.
With Boldin’s decision to retire, which came interestingly right after the team traded Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams, it leaves the Bills incredibly thin at the wide receiver position. While they also acquired Jordan Matthews from the Philadelphia Eagles in a separate deal, there’s no question that the Bills are still sitting with a very thin receiving corps entering the 2017 season.
The real problem here is that while Buffalo has one of the best running backs in the league in LeSean McCoy, he doesn’t have many offensive weapons to help ease the pressure off him. Let’s take a look at what the Bills depth chart currently looks like at wide receiver without Boldin in the mix.
Bills Currently Wide Receiver Depth
- WR1: Jordan Matthews, Brandon Tate, Philly Brown, Walter Powell, Dezmin Lewis, Brandon Reilly
- WR2: Andre Holmes, Zay Jones, Rod Streater, Jeremy Butler, Rashad Ross, Daikiel Shorts
Jones is the main name to watch for here, as he could easily be the team’s No. 2 wideout. This is a player who, while he’s a rookie, has the type of upside that you dream about. During his senior season at East Carolina, Jones tallied a ridiculous 158 catches for 1,746 yards and eight touchdowns.
While Jones will be a reliable target for Tyrod Taylor (or Nathan Peterman/T.J. Yates), the loss of Boldin is certainly going to hurt him, as well as Matthews. The team loses a veteran player who would have helped to at least ease a little bit of pressure off the rest of the offense. Now, they enter the 2017 season in what seems like a major rebuild on the offensive side of the ball, which isn’t good news for McCoy either.
Time will tell, and the Bills may wind up hitting free agency to try to find some additional depth at receiver. For now, though, the loss of Boldin is going to hurt much more than it may seem on the surface. Even though he was 36 years old, he was playing at a high level still and was capable of making plays consistently.