Ever since Chris Ballard took over as general manager in 2017, the Indianapolis Colts have adopted a fairly simplistic roster-building philosophy: draft, develop, and extend players who exceed or meet expectations after their rookie years.
This offseason was supposed to be centered around extensions for homegrown talents like Quenton Nelson, Darius Leonard and Braden Smith, but only now are we starting to hear buzz about negotiations getting underway … at least in Leonard’s case.
While it goes without saying that getting those studs locked up for the foreseeable future is the Colts’ top current priority, what about extending Nyheim Hines?
The 2018 fourth-round pick has established himself as an invaluable piece of the Colts’ offense and his efforts (at least in our eyes) fully deserve to be rewarded with a new contract. However, should that be a priority before he hits free agency after next season?
Should the Colts prioritize an extension for Nyheim Hines?
We all know this is Jonathan Taylor’s backfield, but running back committees have continued growing in popularity over the years. Though the Colts want to give Taylor all the carries he can handle, keeping Hines around as a change-of-pace back just feels like the smart move, no?
Not only will signing Hines to an extension extend Taylor’s shelf life, but it would also keep opposing defenses on their toes on a weekly basis. After all, the two players bring entirely different skill sets to the table — Taylor is more of an old school bruising RB, whereas Hines specializes in elusiveness and catching passes out of the backfield.
We might have a different viewpoint on Hines’ future if he continued to underwhelm as a runner, but he showed significant signs of improvement last season. The North Carolina State product managed career-highs in rushing attempts (89), rushing yards (389), touchdown runs (three) and yards per carry (4.3). Those strides cannot be understated.
It’s also worth noting that Hines continued flourishing as a receiving, tying a career-high in receptions with 63, while setting career bests in receiving yards (482), touchdown catches (four) and total yards from scrimmage (871), which ranked second on the team behind Taylor.
We’re not saying that Hines deserves a big-money extension, as paying a second-string running back top dollar would cripple the Colts financially. However, if a career year doesn’t warrant him getting a new deal, then what does?
It’s not a stretch to call Hines one of the most dynamic RBs in the league and odds are he continues improving with Carson Wentz as his quarterback.
In other words, as long as Indy is able to extend Leonard, Nelson and Smith within a timely manner over the next few months, we really see no reason why they shouldn’t initiate negotiations with Hines.