Anquan Boldin signing with the Buffalo Bills, even as a well past his prime veteran is still a good thing, as I wrote about yesterday.
There’s a factoid I didn’t touch on yesterday that I probably should’ve. The adding of Boldin could directly lead to Buffalo gaining an extra draft selection next year—quite possibly a third-rounder, thanks to the wonderful world of compensatory picks.
Despite losing high profile free agents Stephon Gilmore and Robert Woods this offseason the Bills won’t obtain a compensatory pick in the 2018 NFL draft as things stand. That’s because Buffalo signed seven free agents this offseason while losing just five.
According to many reports, the Bills need to lose three of those seven free agents before somewhere around the midpoint of the season to become comp pick eligible, and reports indicate losing Gilmore would ultimately fetch them a third.
Four of those seven aren’t going anywhere: Micah Hyde, Patrick DiMarco, Stephen Hauschka and Jordan Poyer. I include Poyer not because of his prowess at safety but due to the Bills depth there being downright laughable.
That leaves three guys in need of getting axed. Defensive end Ryan Davis is an easy decision. At best he’s in line to be the team’s fourth end. He’s easily replaceable plus his dead money cap hit would only be $100K. Offensive lineman Vlad Ducasse isn’t quite the clear cut move as Davis but still simple enough to lose. Ryan Groy will be the top interior backup and the loser of the Jordan Mills/Dion Dawkins battle will be the third tackle, assuming Cordy Glenn is good to go before the regular season starts. Buffalo could look at the waiver wire for other backup options if need be. Ducasse would only be a $250K dead cap hit if cut. It’s reasonable to assume he can be cut loose when he’d likely only be the team’s eighth lineman anyway.
The last piece to make this work would be dropping wide receiver Andre Holmes. This would’ve been harder to do before Buffalo signed Boldin. With Boldin here the real competition begins at the fourth receiver spot, and by all accounts Rod Streater is having himself a nice camp while Holmes is dropping too many passes. Brandon Tate and Philly Brown among others still have an opportunity to make a favorite impression as well.
The hard part of cutting Holmes would be eating $2.45 million in dead cap money. However, if $2.45 million is the checkout rate for an extra third-round draft pick, it’s a price worth paying. It’d give Buffalo a pair of first and third-rounders going into 2018.
If Holmes is only destined to be at best the fourth receiver, he could and perhaps should find himself on the receiving end of a pink slip in a few weeks. It’s an outcome far more likely with Boldin here.