WR Boldin should be on Bucs’ radar

"Catch me if you can," he said. "Catch me if you can and hold on, if you can." The football speaks loudly, taunting Buccaneer receivers while hanging up in the air only to fall to the turf, killing play after play after drive after game.

If it’s broke, fix it. And I don’t mean bring in Keyshawn Johnson, although he did help deliver a Super Bowl. I don’t mean entertain Kellen Winslow. While he’s been a tremendous asset, the tight end should not, under any circumstances, be a team’s leading receiver. I mean scour the earth on a quest for the greatest receivers in all the land. Those who are worthy of big paychecks and a No. 1 slot. Those who are available.

Those who are like Anquan Boldin.

The Cardinals’ receiver will earn $3 million in 2010, the final year of his contract. In 2011 he will be a free agent, so he will likely be on the trading block this year so the Cards can guarantee something in return. The three-time Pro Bowler has requested trades in the past, unhappy with, amongst other things, playing second fiddle to Larry Fitzgerald.

Despite approaching age 30, Boldin caught 84 balls for over 1,000 yards in 2009. Only Donald Driver, Hines Ward and Wes Welker had more yards as a No. 2 option. His 84 catches is 11th in the NFL, making him and Fitzgerald the most dynamic receiving threat behind Indianapolis’ Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. He’s surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in five of his seven years as a pro, and the two years he failed to do so were due to injury.

Wide receiver is near the top of the Bucs’ offseason shopping list. With the No. 3 overall pick likely delegated to drafting a defensive player, the Bucs are left with four more picks in the first four rounds in a draft that’s shallow at the receiver position.

Antonio Bryant, arguably the most reliable member of the receiving corps, wants to return to the team. At age 28, a long-term deal is unlikely, if he’s resigned at all. With Sammie Stroughter’s rookie success and Maurice Stovall’s effectiveness as a possession receiver coming off the bench, signing Boldin as a No.1 with Bryant and Stroughter behind him, Winslow at tight end and Stovall coming off the bench could present a dangerous passing attack in 2010.

Omission: Michael Clayton has purposely been left out of this discussion for obvious reasons. Aside from his effective blocking, he’s been a liability since his 1,000 yard rookie season.

Signing Winslow was a start. Signing Boldin would be a step in the right direction. To succeed in the NFL today you must be a player in the free agent market, especially with uncertainty with collective bargaining and the possibility of uncapped year(s) looming. Championships are expensive and risks in both the draft and free agency are vital to making Super Bowl dreams come true.

Catch them if you can. Reach out far enough and deep enough into your wallet, Mr. Glazer, and you just might catch Anquan Boldin and solidify your receiving corps long enough to develop young talent for the future.
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