If 49ers Wait, Anquan Boldin May Catch on Elsewhere

Giants, Lions are possible landing spots for reliable receiver who ranks among best free agents still on the market

It’s possible that veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin will return to the 49ers.

Certainly, whoever the quarterback of the 49ers is in 2016 would be happy to have as reliable a receiver as Boldin on the field.

But the unrestricted free agent is still on the market, and general manager Trent Baalke recently said he hadn’t spoken with Boldin or his representatives for a while.

But while the 49ers wait for the draft and ponder whether to make an offer to Boldin, Boldin is starting to be linked to other teams. The New York Giants, for one, have a need, as do the Detroit Lions.

Boldin, 35, could be a valuable addition to a receiving corps that already has lost star Calvin Johnson to retirement this offseason. Plus, Boldin told the Detroit News recently that Lions head coach Jim Caldwell – whom he worked with while on the Baltimore Ravens before coming to San Francisco – is someone he admires.

“Caldwell is probably one of the better coaches that I’ve played for,” Boldin told Josh Katzenstein of the News. “I love the way he goes about his business. He’s just a great guy. I think probably every player in this league would like to play for Caldwell.”

Meanwhile, NFL analyst John Clayton of ESPN wrote this week that the 49ers would miss Boldin should he depart. Clayton put Boldin on his list of best remaining free agents.

Boldin’s numbers weren’t up to his usual standards in 2015, but quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the offense in general struggled, and Blaine Gabbert then stepped into the starting role and had to knock off some rust.

Wrote Clayton: “Boldin may be 35, but he’s physically tough and can be a value to a winning team looking for a receiver. He caught 69 passes last year. At his age, he may not have a 1,000-yard season in him, but he can bring leadership and productivity to a team.”

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