We’re all slowly dying inside with each passing second, because that’s how time works. My deepest apologies for going all Rust Cohle here, but please be aware that time is indeed a flat circle, and the iceberg always has the right of way.
When a wide receiver is in his early 30′s and starts to creep closer to the position death age of 35, we can usually see a decline, and often an abrupt one. I wrote about that recently while discussing Steve Smith, noting examples like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Chad Ochocinco/Johnson who took that sudden cliff plunge.
Anquan Boldin is the exception.
That’s why the 49ers were eager to re-sign him, and a two-year contract worth a reported $12 million was completed today, $9 million of which is guaranteed. Boldin is 33 years old, and he’ll add another candle to his birthday cake halfway through the 2014 season. So in football years he’s getting quite elderly, but he plays the kind of game that hides his age on the field.
Dating all the way back to the 4.71 40-yard dash he ran at his Combine appearance, Boldin has never been a burner. He has sufficient speed, and enough to get separation. But his game is rooted in physicality, and battling for contested balls. That makes him ideal for the mobile Colin Kaepernick as an additional security blanket, with Boldin often acting as a slimer tight end while sucking back throws in traffic.
Sort of like this…
Boldin’s physical play is also ideal for a Greg Roman offense that’s often been simplified for Kaepernick, with the field cut in half after read-option plays. Kaepernick targeted him 129 times in 2013 which led to 85 catches for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season. Despite his advanced age, that yardage total was Boldin’s best since 2006, and including the playoffs it came during a season when he had 130 or more yards in a game three times, highlighted by a career high 208 yards in Week 1.
With Michael Crabtree around for a full year Boldin now becomes the second option, and he’ll still be leaned on heavily in the red zone.