If you’re looking for an NBA rebuild comparison, it’s in Los Angeles. Thomas is to the 49ers as Lonzo Ball is to the Lakers, a selfless, culture-changing talent with versatile playmaking ability. Cousins is the 49ers’ Paul George, a star who has, both privately and publicly, stated interest in signing with the team. Coach Kyle Shanahan is the proven offensive mind eager to instill his culture with a young team, not unlike Luke Walton.
The NFL is not quite like that in terms of wholesale roster changes, and it’s significantly harder to change a football team in one or two offseasons. But that doesn’t mean NFL teams can’t borrow the team-building strategy models NBA teams have formulated.
The Browns, for example, shocked the league when they took on a bad contract from the Texans (Brock Osweiler) for the price of a second-round pick. The Bills moved down in the 2017 draft to get an future first-round pick and traded two starters for a second- and third-round pick in next year’s draft.
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All the players are committing to reaching out in their hometowns, their NFL homes and every place in which they’ve had connections to the communities. For Boldin, that means south Florida and his hometown of Pahokee, near Palm Beach — the region in which, in October 2015, his cousin, Corey Jones, was killed by an officer in a roadside incident. The officer awaits trial on attempted murder and manslaughter charges.
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Boldin testified about this before a Congressional forum and later spoke to the two senators who sponsored the police reform bill, New Jersey’s Cory(cq) Booker and Maryland’s Chris Van Hollen.