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Buffalo Bills grant Anquan Boldin’s request to seek trade

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The retired veteran has “expressed interest in playing again” in the NFL

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Anquan Boldin signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills on August 7. After spending 13 days with the team, Boldin announced his retirement on August 20. In a statement from that day, Boldin said that his “life’s purpose is bigger than football,” which gave him a platform to explore that purpose.

On Thursday night, Adam Schefter tweeted a letter from Buffalo’s general manager, Brandon Beane, giving Boldin’s agent permission to seek a trade amid reports that Boldin is interested in returning to the NFL.

This is definitely an about-face, as Boldin tweeted a story about his retirement merely hours before the letter was released. Reports have swirled about Boldin’s uncertainty about retirement for nearly the entirety of the time he’s been retired, even going so far as to say that Boldin was “intrigued” by the thought of playing for the New England Patriots. However, as we wrote in September when the report first surfaced, that is highly unlikely, as Buffalo isn’t about to attempt to help its division rival.

Did Boldin have a change of heart after the Bills traded Sammy Watkins away, leading some to believe that the team was in for a “tank” in 2017? Did Boldin realize that he wanted to do other things, then realize that he actually missed football more than he thought he would? Mike Rodak tweeted a Boldin quote that explicitly stated the veteran wide receiver had no interest in returning to football.

Something about this doesn’t sit right. If Boldin truly had a change of heart, I suppose I can’t be that mad at him. But after watching Buffalo’s receivers struggle mightily throughout the beginning portion of the season, it’s hard to maintain rationality. Anquan Boldin signed to play with the Buffalo Bills, then walked away to serve a higher purpose, then decided that his heart actually was in football, just not in the place where he’d signed a contract to play football.

There really are only two possibilities to explain how Schefter received a copy of this letter. Someone in Boldin’s camp, whether it be agent Tom Condon, Boldin himself, or some other person associated with him, may have released the letter to the media, thereby forcing Buffalo’s hand and letting other teams know that Boldin is interested and available. Or, in some calculated move to allow “the process” to continue, Beane or a surrogate in the front office released the letter, which informs potential suitors of the chance to call to acquire Boldin. Either way, and call me old-fashioned if you’d like, I don’t like releasing the letter. It feels like a breach of etiquette any time someone releases communication that was intended for one party’s eyes only.

Reports from the offseason suggested that Boldin would prefer to play close to his home in Florida, but it’s hard to see a match in a trade between the Miami Dolphins and the Bills, who are tied with each other in the division at 4-2. Additionally, Miami has a very strong receiving corps with Devante Parker, Jarvis Landry, and Kenny Stills occupying the first three spots on the depth chart. The Jacksonville Jaguars have a need at receiver with Allen Robinson injured, but it’s hard to fathom the Bills helping a conference foe who could be fighting for the same wild card spot come January. That leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the only other Florida team, and they have an embarrassment of riches in the pass-catcher department.

Beane’s letter clearly stated that Buffalo will exercise their rights to determine where Boldin goes, so it’s quite possible that this all adds up to nothing. However, just the thought of Boldin’s about-face, especially considering Buffalo’s strong start, makes me pretty mad as a Bills’ fan.

Poll

How does news of Anquan Boldin’s trade request make you feel?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    "I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!"
    (415 votes)
  • 20%
    "I couldn’t possibly care less."
    (405 votes)
  • 56%
    "Boldin has the right to change his mind, and Buffalo has the right to receive compensation."
    (1115 votes)
  • 2%
    "Other (clarify in comments section."
    (52 votes)
1987 votes total Vote Now