Report: Anquan Boldin 'remains intrigued' by possibility of playing with Patriots

Report: Anquan Boldin 'remains intrigued' by possibility of playing with Patriots

FOXBORO -- It's a match that makes sense, in some ways.

The Patriots lost their best slot receiver when Julian Edelman tore his ACL two weeks ago. And Anquan Boldin -- who recently retired but is interested in playing with the Patriots, according to the Boston Globe -- has been at his best in the slot.

But pairing one with the other isn't that easy. Let's look at some of the factors that could be in play here . . . 

Do the Patriots have a need? They recently brought Phillip Dorsett to New England via trade with the Colts, improving their depth at the receiver position. And while Dorsett projects more as an outside threat than an interior player, Bill Belichick has several players who are capable of playing in the slot. Will Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Rex Burkhead, James White and Dion Lewis combine to match Edelman's production inside? Impossible to say. But the Patriots have in-house options for the slot without turning to Boldin. 

Would Boldin fit? He'll turn 37 in October. Clearly he's not the athlete he once was, but he was able to catch 67 passes for 584 yards and eight scores last year in Detroit by using his physicality and his understanding of how to uncover. He does not bring the kind of quickness the Patriots are used to in the slot, and he would in all likelihood fill in as the team's sixth receiver behind Brandin Cooks, Hogan, Amendola, Mitchell and Dorsett.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder would have to quickly figure out how to get on the same page as Tom Brady, but the Patriots are clearly not averse to bringing in receivers on the eve of the regular season -- as the Dorsett deal showed. Despite the difficulty with which new Patriots receivers sometimes have in picking up the offense, the team has been willing to import options even mid-season depending on their situation, as they did late last year with Michael Floyd. 

Even if the two sides wanted to get something done, there would be barriers to bringing Boldin to New England. Perhaps the most significant would be that Boldin is on the Bills reserve/retired list. That means the Bills would either have to trade Boldin within their division or they would have to release his rights so that he could play elsewhere in the division. 

Pro Football Talk says that the Patriots have shown no interest in acquiring Boldin in the aftermath of Edelman's injury, which makes sense. Regardless of how "intrigued" Boldin is, his contractual situation, his fit in the offense, and the Patriots' needs don't seem to align well enough to make this potential marriage a reality.

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

The Patriots have made a trade with the Raiders to acquire receiver and special teamer Cordarrelle Patterson, according to a source. The deal, first reported by Pardon My Take, is an interesting one because it lands Patterson with the team that passed on the opportunity to draft him back in 2013. 


Bill Belichick dealt the No. 29 overall pick to the Vikings that year in exchange for four selections, including a second-rounder and a third-rounder. The second-rounder became Jamie Collins, and the third became Logan Ryan. The Patriots also took Josh Boyce with a fourth they received in the trade, and the fourth pick (a seventh) was traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings took Patterson. 

Patterson's career to this point has been a mixed bag. One of the top athletes in the 2013 draft, the Tennessee product never quite panned out as a go-to No. 1 receiver. He has not missed a game in five seasons, but he has never cracked 600 offensive snaps in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has turned himself into more of a gadget receiver as well as one of the game's best special teamers. 

Here's what the Patriots are getting in Patterson . . . 

TOP-TIER SPECIAL TEAMER: Patterson has solidified himself as one of the NFL's best kick-returners. In five seasons, he's ranked as the top returner in terms of average yards per return three times. He's never been outside of the top 10 in the league in that category. Last year he was sixth in the NFL with a 28.3 yards per return average. Patterson has also become a highly-effective gunner on punt units, a role he thrived in once he embraced it, and he has kick coverage experience. Patterson has not been a punt-returner. He has just one punt return under his belt compared to 153 kick returns. Patterson has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice for his work in the kicking game. 

INCONSISTENT RECEIVER: Patterson has never been able to take his explosiveness and translate that into consistent production offensively. He's not thought of as a precise route-runner, and he has a reputation as a "body-catcher." Yet, because he's so dynamic with the ball in his hands, offenses in Oakland and Minnesota have found ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll align in the backfield, take reverses and catch screens just to try to get him the ball in space where he can let his natural abilities take over. If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. 

THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside . . . The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away? Inside the Pylon's Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there's a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn't proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) 

THE FIT: Patterson is a relatively low-risk acquisition because of his cap hit (which on the Patriots slots him in between Shea McClellin and Chris Hogan) and because of the draft capital required to nab him. Trading for a player like Patterson as opposed to signing another team's free agent has the added benefit of not impacting the compensatory-pick formula. Patterson also fills a few needs. His abilities as a kick-returner will be more than suitable with last year's primary kick returner for the Patriots, Dion Lewis, out of the mix. What Patterson can do as a gunner and in kick coverage will also be useful with Johnson Bademosi now elsewhere. There's also a chance Matthew Slater plays in a different city in 2017, in which case Patterson's contributions as a gunner and in kick coverage could be critical. With Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Hogan all established in the Patriots offense, Patterson won't be expected to take on a heavy role in the Patriots offense. However, if he can pick up a new system, perhaps he could take on a role as a No. 4 or 5 wideout who benefits from plays designed to get him touches in space. Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt -- now alongside Patterson -- will all be competing for time in New England's offense. Former Patriots coaching assistant Mike Lombardi seems to believe it's unlikely Patterson contributes offensively


Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

The Patriots have acquired wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson in a trade with the Raiders, NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry confirms.

Pardon My Take, a podcast by Barstool Sports, first reported the news.

Ian Rapaport of NFL Network reports the Patriots sent a fifth-round pick to Oakland and received a Raiders' sixth-rounder along with Patterson.

More to come...