The Indianapolis Colts have a pivotal offseason ahead of them. They could look to one of several quarterbacks, Carson Wentz included, and use their large amount of cap space to address their need under center. But who will that QB be working with in the passing game?
Wide receiver Zach Pascal, who some assumed could be a casualty of the remodel, looks like he’ll end up becoming a part of Indy’s long-term future. After linking up with the Colts following a successful career at Old Dominion, Pascal has recorded 1,236 yards and 10 touchdowns through the air over the last two seasons, emerging as a reliable option in the passing game.
Pascal, per GM Chris Ballard, is likely being retained this offseason. While this could be a very solid player that Indianapolis is bringing back, TY Hilton, also a free agent, could leave. Nonetheless, it’s encouraging to know Pascal will probably wear white and blue next season.
Zach Pascal has emerged as a good receiver for the Colts.
Pascal might force Hilton out of Indianapolis, but his emergence could give the Colts a few reliable targets on the outside. Indy is still holding out hope that Parris Campbell can live up to his potential, while Michael Pittman Jr. showed that he was more than capable of translating his college production at USC to the pros.
Pascal and Philip Rivers had quite the relationship last year, with the wideout proving that he can get behind the defense and open in the red zone as a member of a contending team. Hilton still could have a role with the Colts, but he has struggled to stay healthy, and he should only return if he accepts a lesser role behind Pittman and Pascal.
Pascal is no doubt the priority at this point as a restricted free agent.
While Hilton has made four Pro Bowls in his career, his trademark speed is starting to drift away. Ballard might decide to opt for the younger, bigger receiver over the older, smaller target. Hilton could still find work as a field-stretcher, but a Reich offense that thrives on getting the ball out quickly would likely prefer a guy like Pascal.
He might not have Hilton’s speed or Pittman’s ability to make contested catches, but he’s reliable and can do a little bit of everything. His ability to run crisp routes and go down the field will once again make him a valued commodity as Marcus Brady takes over the offense from the departed Nick Sirianni.