So much time has been spent on the Indianapolis Colts’ need for a quarterback that their other offseason storylines have flown considerably under the radar. In predictable fashion, that narrative only intensified after trade target Matthew Stafford was dealt to the Rams for the equivalent of a king’s ransom.
As far as other noteworthy topics are concerned, the free agency of wide receiver TY Hilton arguably falls next in the pecking order on the heels of his polarizing season in 2020. While fans would hate to see him go, they understand that browsing the open market for a more dynamic player in the middle of his prime is probably the smart move.
However, insider Zak Keefer of The Athletic has an inkling that the Colts will not only pursue Hilton this offseason, but that both sides will ultimately reach an agreement on a deal. His rationale essentially boils down to two important factors: Hilton can still be elite and that Indianapolis’ braintrust has great respect for him.
Don’t be surprised if TY Hilton is back with the Colts in 2021.
Hilton’s nosedive in production over the last year and a half seemed to have sealed his fate in terms of his potential return next season. However, he played an instrumental role in their playoff push over the final two months and that surge apparently worked wonders in terms of conveying to the front office that he can still provide tremendous value to the offense.
For context, Hilton averaged just 3.2 receptions for 36.3 yards — to go with zero touchdowns and a woeful 54.9% catch rate — over the first nine games of the season. During the final seven games of the year, when the Colts really had no margin for error given that the other teams in the playoff race refused to budge, he compiled 29 catches for 467 yards (58.3 per game) and five touchdowns, all of which led the team.
This obviously doesn’t guarantee that Hilton will be back, but the fact that he has a chance after his injury-riddled campaign in 2019 and lackluster first-half showing this past season proves that he shouldn’t have been written off.
Seeing as though this will be Hilton’s last chance to ink a lucrative contract (he’ll turn 32 in the middle of next season), the Colts may not be getting the biggest of bargains since the wideout will be looking for reasonable length and AAV to prepare for his future.