ESPN's Adam Schefter and multiple outlets report the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs are competing with the Patriots to land Boldin, who has one year remaining on his contract and has wanted out of Arizona the past two offseasons.
The Patriots have ammunition for a trade with three second-round draft picks and four selections inside the top 53 slots.
Even if the Patriots don't get Boldin, their interest is telling.
The Patriots have been desperate to find help opposite star Randy Moss. They obtained Greg Lewis and Joey Galloway last year but neither worked out and they were eventually cut. The Patriots used Isaiah Stanback and Sam Aiken in that role to modest results.
Tom Brady will need more help to help the Patriots overcome Wes Welker's likely absence at the start of the season. Welker, the NFL's leader in receptions over the past two seasons, is recovering from a knee blowout.
Boldin will turn 30 during the season and could be considered the Patriots' top wideout for the long term. They can get by with paying both Boldin and Moss this year.
Boldin's presence then would allow the Patriots to part ways with Moss, who turned 33 last month and is entering the final year of his lucrative extension he signed after his record-breaking 2007 campaign.