Instead of preparing for the postseason, the Indianapolis Colts are preparing for the offseason. Much like last offseason, it will be a big one for the Colts. It will be bit for different reasons, though. Last season, Indy was focused on finding a head coach and a quarterback. This season, the focus for Indy will be retaining their core veterans who are set to enter free agency.
The biggest of those names is wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. After four seasons with the Colts, Pittman established himself as a top receiver in the game and it’s now time for him to get paid. Obviously, everyone wants to keep Pittman in Indianapolis, but the 26-year-old receiver isn’t making any promises.
Speaking with the media on Monday, Pittman made it very clear that he wants to hit the market. He explained that he wouldn’t be doing his due diligence if he didn’t see what was out there. While that’s true, and also doesn’t mean that he won’t ultimately remain in Indianapolis, it has to be concerning for the Colts to hear their top receiver say that.
Michael Pittman Jr. wants to test the market in free agency
Again, this doesn’t mean that Pittman won’t end up with the Colts or that he doesn’t want to remain in Indianapolis, but it does mean that Indy has some work to do this offseason. Indianapolis will either have to offer Pittman a sizeable enough contract that will keep him from entering free agency or Indy Indy must be prepared to match any offer that Pittman receives. Whatever it takes, the Colts can’t afford to lose him.
There is the option of the franchise tag. That’s something that Chris Ballard has never utilized as a general manager and a tool that the franchise hasn’t used since 2014. Pittman spoke about possibly being tagged and explained that he doesn’t want to play on the tag but he isn’t going to complain about a $23 million, one-year contract.
Pittman has been contributing since his rookie season and has been the team’s No. 1 wideout for the last three years. Benefitting his upcoming contract talks, Pittman is coming off the best season of his career. He caught 109 receptions for 1,152 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games. He was reliable for Indy all season, regardless of who was at quarterback.
That’s why the Colts need to make sure he remains in Indianapolis. With Anthony Richardson returning from injury next season, Indy needs to support their young quarterback with a top receiver. Keeping Michael Pittman Jr. on the roster will accomplish that.