Here's Why Anquan Boldin Is Still Unsigned
Anquan Boldin can't find work.
Seemingly every NFL team needing wide receiver help has been tied to Boldin, but as we sit here in July, the always-undervalued 35-year-old wideout is teamless.
Well, I kind of mentioned part of it: age. Boldin's going to turn 36 in October next year, which doesn't exactly make him an attractive option.
But even if we looked past that, Boldin's 2015 was anything but spectacular. You can look at his raw numbers and see that he finished the year with 69 catches for 789 yards and 4 scores in a dumpster fire of an offense, but that doesn't tell the whole story.
Enter Net Expected Points, or NEP for short. NEP is our in-house metric that looks at how many points a player contributes for his team versus expectation. Rather than give you the rundown here, for anyone wanting to know more about the metric, check out our glossary.
You can measure NEP in a lot of different ways, and one way of showing efficiency at a pass-catching position is to divide the number of points added on catches (Reception NEP) by the number of targets a receiver saw.
Last year, Boldin's 0.51 Reception NEP per target ranked 77th out of the 86 wide receivers with 50 or more targets.
And while you may want to blame that on his offense -- which would be logical -- the problem is that the other (fairly mediocre) wide receivers in the San Francisco offense far outplayed him, averaging 0.63 Reception NEP per target.
That difference -- 0.12 Reception NEP per target -- between Boldin and the rest of his wide receiving teammates was the worst he's seen since 2009.
|Year||Team||Boldin Rec NEP/Target||Team Rec NEP/Target||Difference|
The thing about that 2009 season, too, was that Boldin battled hamstring and ankle injuries all year long, appearing on the injury report during 7 of the Cardinals' 16 regular season games. And in 2008 -- the other year where he matched last year's low-efficiency performance -- Boldin missed four games.
We should expect Boldin to find some work eventually, but right now, it's tough to blame NFL general managers for not wanting to commit themselves to a soon-to-be 36-year-old wide receiver coming off the most inefficient season he's seen in seven years.