After a strong start to the 2023 NFL season, the Indianapolis Colts find themselves on top of the AFC South in an underdog story. With two wins after three games, head coach Shane Steichen has shown the league what his team is made of after analysts predicted the team to be one of the worst in football.
"Everybody is just writing us off that we're gonna be a bottom-five team... That's kind of what we want."- Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr.
With the defensive line dominating through three weeks, Michael Pittman Jr.'s elite numbers have gone largely unrecognized. Pittman is the only receiver in the NFL with at least eight receptions in every game so far this year, and he's done it with two different quarterbacks.
The fourth-year receiver out of USC is on pace for a career high in receptions and yards, proving his value to the Colts organization in his contract year. With these kinds of numbers, Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard certainly would want the receiver to stay in Indianapolis to lead a youth movement in the organization.
What would a realistic contract extension look like for Michael Pittman Jr.?
Since entering the league in 2020, Michael Pittman Jr. has the 25th-most receiving yards and the 15th-most receptions, placing his numbers near the likes of Deebo Samuel and Christain Kirk who make a combined average salary of $21 million per year.
Currently, there are zero players on the Colts roster that make $20 million or more, which makes it seem like Ballard doesn't want to overpay for his players. A realistic contract that the Indianapolis front office could offer would range from $15-18 million dollars per year. This would allow for Anthony Richardson and Pittman to have the opportunity to build chemistry together, something that the star receiver hasn't had an opportunity to do since being drafted.
With the hot start to the 2023 season, Pittman can feel confident in re-signing with the Colts as they trend up in the league. Across the league, star receivers have consistently changed teams over the past few years. From Stefon Diggs to Davante Adams, top wideouts haven't been afraid to leave their draft-day team for an opportunity to win more and make more money.
Michael Pittman Jr. is not focused on contract talks
Despite entering the final year of his rookie contract, MPJ has been widely unbothered by extension drama. "I mean I think every player wants to get paid," Pittman said. "I wouldn't mind one."
If the 6-foot-4 star continues his early production levels, expect Ballard & Co. to jump early on a contract extension opportunity. Pittman will face off against a Los Angeles Rams secondary that allowed Ja'Marr Chase to tally 141 yards on 12 receptions, putting MPJ in prime position to continue feasting.