The San Francisco 49ers have a host of free agency decisions to make this coming offseason, and one involves a key cog on offense. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin will be a free agent, and while he is getting up there in years, he wants to keep playing. On Thursday, Boldin told the 49ers beat writers that he "definitely" wants to return to the 49ers in 2016.
"I like it here. I like the people here. The organization has been great to me. I love my teammates. I enjoy them. And I have roots here, a lot of relationships that I've built in this community."
"I mean, it doesn't matter what age you are, you want to be playing for a championship. That goes without saying. That's the reason you play this game," Boldin said. "But I would also say it's difficult to say I just wouldn't want to be here because I feel like we're rebuilding and I want to play for a championship. It's deeper than that, especially when you've been at a place for a certain amount of years. And you have roots there."
Boldin is on his third team, having started his career with the Arizona Cardinals, and then moved on to the Baltimore Ravens. Boldin talked about wanting to play for a championship, but acknowledged the roots he is developing in the Bay Area. He's been in the area three years, so it becomes a question of how his roots are developing vs. the fact that the 49ers are in a heavy rebuilding period. They could figure some things out this offseason, but coming off such a poor season, can they get it turned around sufficiently by next year?
One option for Boldin is to sign a one-year deal, so he can see how things are moving along. His last deal was for two years, with three voidable years added at the end. The 49ers will have $909,000 in Boldin dead money for each of the next three seasons. He is still a contributor, but he is old enough that going year-to-year on contracts makes some sense. The 49ers wide receiver position is sort of all over the place. They have a deep threat in Torrey Smith, and they have a possession guy in Boldin. After that on the 53-man roster, they have Quinton Patton who seems like he is at best a third or fourth option, Bruce Ellington, who seems like a threat, but doesn't actually get used all that often, and UDFA DeAndrew White. DeAndre Smelter is on the NFI list, and should be on the 53-man roster next year. He has gotten comparisons to Anquan Boldin, so it will be interesting to see if the 49ers look at him as a Boldin replacement next season.