WR Anquan Boldin has informed the Bills that he's retiring, according to ESPN's Jim Trotter. "My life's purpose is bigger than football," Boldin said in a statement. Or, he simply decided against a season with a Bills team that's clearly in rebuilding mode. Boldin's departure leaves Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones as the team's clear-cut top 2 WRs. Both guys get a boost up the WR rankings -- although we're finding it tough to get excited about any member of this Buffalo passing game.
The Bills have signed WR Anquan Boldin to a 1-year, $2.75 million deal. Boldin turns 37 in October but remained effective last year, posting a 67-584-8 line. He averaged just 8.7 yards per catch but caught 70.5% of his targets and was the team's top option in the red zone. Boldin figures to take over slot duties in Buffalo. He'll battle WR Zay Jones and TE Charles Clay for target behind top dog Sammy Watkins. In a low-volume passing game, Boldin will probably struggle for WR3 value. His arrival also hurts Jones' 2017 projection. The rookie figures to start on the outside but has more target competition on his hands.
Bills insider Joe Buscaglia believes WR Zay Jones is in the lead for the team's #2 WR job. He's competing primarily with Andre Holmes for that spot. Jones has improved every day in camp, per Buscaglia, and impressed with his route-running skills. Buscaglia compared the rookie to former Bills WR Stevie Johnson. We've already projected Jones to win the #2 spot on the depth chart and consider him a nice value at his dirt-cheap 14th-round price tag.
Bills WR Zay Jones was a full participant in Thursday's minicamp practice, according to insider Chris Brown. The rookie ended up missing about 3 weeks with a sprained knee. He's still in line to serve as Buffalo's #2 WR this season. We'll see if the Bills land either Jeremy Maclin or Eric Decker.
Bills WR Zay Jones suffered a knee injury in Tuesday's OTA practice. The team is calling it a "knee sprain" and labeling the rookie "week to week." We should get more details in the coming days. For now, there's no reason to believe Jones is in danger of missing any regular-season or even training-camp time. But any time on the sidelines is a missed opportunity for a rookie expected to play a significant role this year.
The Bills have declined the 5th-year option on WR Sammy Watkins' contract. That year -- along with the $13 or so million it would have paid him -- is guaranteed for injury only prior to the start of the 2018 league year. So Buffalo is (perhaps rightfully) worried that Watkins will suffer another serious injury. He's now set to become a free agent next offseason. Getting out of run-heavy Buffalo might help Watkins' fantasy stock. Rookie Zay Jones, meanwhile, could find himself as the Bills' #1 WR as soon as next year.
The Bills traded up to the 37th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft to select East Carolina WR Zay Jones. He certainly checks the production and measurables boxes. Jones set Division I records for single-season catches (158 last year) and career catches (399). Then he went to the Combine and earned a 94th percentile SPARQ score, running a 4.45-second 40 and faring well in the agility drills for a 6’2, 201-pounder. Jones is decidedly less impressive on tape, though. Much of his production at East Carolina was manufactured. And he doesn’t appear to play as athletically as he tested. On the plus side, he understands how to create separation — especially against zone coverage — and possesses a strong pair of mitts. In Buffalo, he has a pretty clear path to the #2 WR job, with only guys like Philly Brown and Andre Holmes to beat out. But, at least in the short term, Jones will be clearly behind Sammy Watkins for targets in a run-heavy offense. He'd do well to return WR3 value in 2017.
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