- Anquan Boldin signed with the Bills in August, but retired from the NFL just two weeks later.
- Ahead of the trade deadline, Boldin expressed a desire to return to the league, but not with the Bills.
- Bills GM Brandon Beane refused to release Boldin’s rights, keeping him out of the league for at least the rest of the year, and ensuring that he doesn’t jump to a division rival.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane says that the team will not be releasing the rights to wide receiver Anquan Boldin, preventing him from coming back to the league this season.
Boldin signed a one-year deal with the Bills in August, but announced his retirement just two weeks later, saying “I’m not coming back to play for a contender or to do anything else. I’m done with the game of football.”
But just days before the trade deadline, Boldin requested and was granted permission to search for a potential trade partner that could have potentially facilitated his comeback to the league. After the trade deadline passed, Boldin’s only hope to making his NFL return outside of a Bills uniform would be if Buffalo released his rights, which Beane’s comments make clear the organisation has no plans of doing.
Beane made his comments on SiriusXM NFL Radio, and noted that he specifically wasn’t going to give up Boldin’s rights for fear of him joining a division rival.
“We made a commitment to Anquan, and he made a commitment to us back in camp. He left for the reasons he mentioned back in August. We invested in him — invested time and committed to him — and we wouldn’t want to just put him out on the market to see him go sign with the Patriots or the Dolphins or anybody that can get in our way or work against us.”
It’s a smart, cautious move from Beane, and after Boldin’s abrupt departure, he owes the Hall of Fame receiver no favours. With Julian Edelman out for the season and Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan both dealing with ongoing injuries, Boldin is just the type of pass-catching receiver and veteran presence that Belichick would likely be looking to bring into the Patriots offence.
Additionally, Beane was likely haunted by previous moves the Patriots have made on his players. Hogan signed with the Patriots while a restricted free agent in 2016 after four years with the Bills when Buffalo couldn’t match New England’s offer. Hogan immediately had the best season of his career, including putting up 94 yards and a score in his first game against his former team.
With the trade deadline passed and the Bills in control of Boldin’s playing status, Boldin won’t be able to get back into the league until next season should he still desire to make a return.
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