Colts: Nyheim Hines contract extension might be imperative after 2020 contributions

The Colts giving running back Nyheim Hines a contract extension should be a fairly easy decision.

The Indianapolis Colts ultimately fell significantly short in their quest to win a championship, but there’s still plenty of reason to feel optimistic for what lies ahead in the future. After all, they have a trio of franchise cornerstones — Darius Leonard, DeForest Buckner and Quenton Nelson — in place to complement their already-promising core of players.

It obviously isn’t feasible for GM Chris Ballard to keep everybody around year in and year out as the Colts have a laundry list of players set to hit free agency this offseason. However, assuming he conducts his business like a meritocracy, it should be relatively easy for him to determine which of them is deserving of a new contract.

As far as the running back position is concerned, the front office better not second-guess themselves when it comes to extending Nyheim Hines, who continues to exceed expectations after being drafted in the fourth round back in 2018.

We all know that Hines is as talented of a receiver out of the backfield as any RB in the league and he continued to prove that this season, ranking third among qualified players at the position with 64 receptions. He also finished as Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded pass-catching back at an astounding 92.2, but that really shouldn’t come as much of a shock.

Where he really took us by surprise in 2020, however, was the strides he made as a runner, especially in between the tackles. For starters, Hines improved on his career-high in terms of yards per carry by nearly a full yard. He also set new bests in rushing attempts (95), rushing yards (955) and touchdown runs (three).

As if that wasn’t enough to prove that the 25-year-old stud is deserving of a new deal, he also (on just 105 carries) logged a whopping 19 runs that went for at least 10 yards. For all you math geniuses out there, that accounted for 18% of his carries.

We fully understand that Jonathan Taylor was unstoppable down the stretch of the regular season and somehow proved to be a steal despite being drafted early in the second round last year, but that shouldn’t dissuade the Colts from looking to extend Hines.

Both running backs have drastically different styles and complement each other perfectly. They’re both matchup nightmares.

Make no bones about it, folks: Taylor and Hines form one of the most dynamic tandems at the running back position in the entire NFL and the Colts would be out of their minds to split them up by letting the latter’s rookie contract expire and allowing him to test the open market in 2022.