Detroit Lions: Anquan Boldin’s Future With Team Remains Up In the Air

Dec 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Anquan Boldin (80) runs after a catch during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Lions win 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Will Anquan Boldin be back with the Detroit Lions in 2017? Despite mutual interest between player and franchise, the 14-year veteran is no lock to return.

The Anquan Boldin 2017 offseason saga continues. After a productive stint with the Detroit Lions in 2016, Boldin appeared to be on the fence about whether to continue his playing career. During a season that saw him post his highest touchdown total (8) in eight years, Boldin emerged as a dependable target for quarterback Matthew Stafford, and proved those who forecasted his decline wrong. It seemed apparent that the Lions needed to keep him in the mix if he was willing to re-sign with the team.

As luck would have it, Boldin recently made it clear that he does, in fact, intend to return for a 15th NFL season. And, as expected, the Lions appear interested in a reunion:

With that said, the Lions don’t appear to be the only team in the mix for his services. Recent reports indicate that the Baltimore Ravens and head coach John Harbaugh could be interested in bringing Boldin back for a second stint with the organization.

This should come as no surprise, as Boldin and Harbaugh won a Super Bowl together back in 2013, and a reconciliation could be enticing to both parties. The Ravens also have a need for a gritty, reliable, veteran receiver after the January retirement of Steve Smith. The move makes a ton of sense, and this is an likely unsettling scenario to Lions fans everywhere.

Regardless of any decision Boldin makes about his future, it doesn’t appear that this matter will be resolved any time soon. In fact, the former Florida State standout recently made it clear that he’s in no rush to make any decisions, and will likely wait until training camp is about to open to make the final call (per Jamey Eisenberg of CBS Sports).

It’s completely understandable that the 36-year-old Boldin wants to wait such a long time to join whichever team he chooses. After so many years in the league, he’s likely tired of the rigorous offseason practice schedule, and would prefer to avoid it for as long as possible. Boldin didn’t sign with the Lions until just prior to training camp last season, and he was still a very productive player.

A wily veteran and a true professional, he doesn’t need to be running routes with 21-year-old rookies in May. This is a player who can step into his role and produce, and last year he proved that he doesn’t require a full slate of offseason activity to be effective in meaningful games. After 14 seasons as a pro, he’s earned the right to call his shot, so to speak.

Ultimately, Boldin could very well sign with the Lions or Ravens when July rolls around. But at this point in time, it’s far too soon to tell what the future holds for the three-time Pro Bowler. What is certain is that the NFL Draft is mere weeks away. And if the opportunity presents itself for the Lions to add to their receiving corps at the right price, they will likely jump at the chance.

With that said, they will unquestionably continue to keep close tabs on their 2016 touchdown leader in the months to come. Anquan Boldin is worth the wait.

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