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Breaking Down T.Y. Hilton’s New Deal


Yesterday, the Indianapolis Colts and their star wideout T.Y. Hilton agreed on a new 5-year, $65 million dollar deal, which contains $39 million guaranteed.

The new contract effectively makes Hilton the 4th highest paid wide receiver in the NFL:

While there was prior speculation that Hilton could command as much as Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas on their recently inked mega-deals, Hilton fell just short of their $14 million annual price tag. Specifically, he’s set to make $13 million per year in his new contract.

Aug 5, 2015; Anderson, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) waits his turn to go through drills during training camp at Anderson University. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

For the Colts, the team has to be reasonably happy with Hilton’s new contract. Only 25 years old, he presumably has many great seasons of football left. Not to mention, he’s coming off a breakout season in which he caught 82 receptions for 1,345 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns as Andrew Luck‘s go-to target.

His exceptional play was finally recognized, as Hilton was named to his 1st career Pro Bowl and was named #35 on the NFL’s Top 100. He’s clearly a Top 10 wideout in the NFL.

However, while Hilton is definitely a star, he’s not quite on the superstar level of NFL wideout like a Bryant, Thomas, or even Calvin Johnson among the league’s highest paid, and his new contract rightfully fell just short of their respective contract benchmarks accordingly:

"“While Hilton is a star wideout receiver in his own right, he’s not necessarily a superstar wideout like those other three wideouts armed with mega-deals. Consider what each of those aforementioned wideouts did in the year before signing their most recent mega-contract compared to Hilton this past season:Calvin Johnson (2011): 96 receptions for 1,681 receiving yards and 16 touchdownsDez Bryant (2014): 88 receptions for 1,320 receiving yards and 16 touchdownsDemaryius Thomas (2014): 111 receptions for 1,619 receiving yards and 11 touchdownsT.Y Hilton (*2014): 82 receptions for 1,345 receiving yards and 7 touchdownsWhile Hilton assuredly extends drives and moves the chains, often in big chunks, he has yet to reach double-digit touchdowns in a single season. A feat that each member of the aforementioned superstar wide receiver trio had accomplished at least 3 times each before inking their new deals respectively.”"

Still, given the past precedent established by the NFL’s highest paid wide receivers, Hilton’s $13 million sounds fairly reasonable. When one considers that Mike Wallace is making $12 million annually, Hilton’s $13 million falls in-line with current wide receiver contracts, especially considering the latter is the superior wideout.

Likewise, Hilton’s $39 million guaranteed appears on-par when compared to some of his wide receiver contemporaries.

Looking at the graphic below, Hilton is right where he reasonably should be, behind Bryant and Thomas, but ahead of Wallace (via numbers from Spotrac):

Given his prior contract comments to the media, there was concern that Hilton would chase every last dollar and cash-out in NFL free agency after this season.

However, it appears that the wideout ultimately elected to stay with the only team he’s ever known and with his superstar quarterback for the foreseeable future, signing a reasonable new contract that both sides could ultimately agree upon.

Grade: A

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