Thursday, May 18, 2017

Why not Boldin?


Following up on the notion the Browns need at least one more veteran wide receiver to help the young kids on the roster adjust quicker to the National Football League, four names fit that profile.

In no particular order they are Victor Cruz, Stevie Johnson, Anquan Boldin and Vincent Jackson. Of the four, only one has escaped injury problems throughout his career.

The NFL careers of Cruz, Johnson and Jackson have been short-circuited at one time or another by injuries well into those careers.

Boldin, on the other hand, has been a rock-solid receiver, missing only four games while playing for four teams in his 14-year career during which he has maintained an excellence that has gone largely unrewarded (only three Pro Bowls).

Consistency and dependability are his main virtues. He would be the ideal choice should Hue Jackson see a need for at least one more wise head in the room besides Kenny Britt.

Never mind Boldin will turn 37 in October. He is surprisingly spry for his age right now. The 6-1, 220-pounder would also bring sagacity and pugnacity to the wide receivers room along with a large dose of professionalism that is missing.

He is still one of the best third-down receivers in the NFL despite his age. With the Detroit Lions last season, he caught 67 passes and scored eight touchdowns. He is the kind of receiver who keeps drives moving.

If there is one aspect of the Cleveland offense that seriously needs upgrading, it’s the ability to own the football for long stretches and keep the defense on the bench and well-rested.

His ability to get open, especially on third down, has enabled him to rack up nearly 13,800 yards and post seven seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards. He clearly belies his age at a position that normally sees players retire at an earlier age.

The 6-5, 240-pound Jackson, who has six 1,000-yard seasons, is 34 years old and clearly on the downside of his career. A knee injury derailed his season five games into the schedule for Tampa Bay in 2016.

Cruz, 30, has not been an effective performer since tearing a patellar tendon in 2014 and missing the following season with an injured calf. He is no longer the explosive receiver he was with the New York Giants for several seasons.

Johnson, 31, missed the entire 2016 season with the San Diego Chargers after a torn meniscus. The owner of three 1,000-yard seasons hasn’t been the same player since recording the last one in 2012 with Buffalo.

So if the Browns somehow, some way decide it would be wise to add a veteran presence to the Kiddie Korps in the receivers room, the addition of Anquan Boldin would seem to be the correct move.

He is the NFL’s version of the Energizer Bunny. He keeps going . . . and going . . . and going . . . and . . .

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