How big of a contract will it take the Colts to keep Michael Pittman Jr. in Indy?

Michael Pittman Jr. is having a great season in the final year of his rookie contract. If the Indianapolis Colts want to keep him, it’ll cost a lot of money.
Nov 12, 2023; Frankfurt, Germany;  Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) warms
Nov 12, 2023; Frankfurt, Germany; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) warms / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts had a chance to extend Michael Pittman Jr. before the 2023 season started but it didn’t happen. That’s probably a decision that Pittman is now happy about because yesterday’s price is not today’s price. Michael Pittman Jr. has been balling out this season as Indy’s No. 1 receiver, so that means his price has gone up.

After 12 games, Pittman, with 87 receptions for 889 yards and four touchdowns, leads the Colts in every wide receiver category. He’s on pace for a career year, and will also likely accomplish something that hasn’t been done by a Colts receiver since Reggie Wayne in 2012. Pittman recorded eight or more catches in each of his last five games and has only had less than eight catches in three of the 12 games.

All of this production has helped Indianapolis reach a 7-5 record and put the team in the playoff race. The production has also made Pittman a lot of money. While an extension could happen at any moment, the Colts usually wait until the offseason to handle business. If Indy is going to keep Pittman, how much will the team have to offer him?

What will Michael Pittman Jr.’s next contract look like?

In order to answer this question, we have to first look at the wide receiver market. Based on average annual salary, Miami Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill leads the charge making $30 million annually. Hill is on pace for over 2,000 receiving yards, which has never been done in league history. If everything about football hadn’t become so quarterback centric, he’d be this year’s MVP. That’s all to say that he definitely deserves to be the highest-paid receiver and Pittman probably won’t be resetting the receiver market.

Next on the list is Davante Adams at $28 million, then Cooper Kupp at $26.7 million, followed by AJ Brown at $25 million, and Stefon Diggs and DK Metcalf at $24 million. The next tier of receivers is likely the range that Pittman will fall in with his new contract.

Deebo Samuel is being paid $23.85 million annually, Terry McLaurin is making $22.788 million a year, and DJ Moore is at $20.628 million. Based on all that Pittman has done in Indy, what he’s doing this season, how he compares to these receivers that have already been paid, and the Indy’s history of paying homegrown players, Pittman will likely get a multi-year contract offer from that Colts that gives him an average annual salary thats somewhere in the $20-23 million range.

The Colts have the cap space and they need to keep Michael Pittman Jr. on the roster. It’ll be best for the team to get him on a new contract before Pittman hits free agency and begins fielding offers.