The Dallas Cowboys are only two weeks into the season, but there is already chatter about the team adding a new receiver in free agency or through a trade.
Expected No. 2 receiver Michael Gallup is nearing a full recovery from last season’s ACL tear, and new WR James Washington is expected to return from his offseason injury as well. The absence of those two players is a big deal, but there are bigger concerns with the offense and WR group.
CeeDee Lamb struggled in Week 1, and the Cowboys’ receiving group appears to be having difficulty as a whole. The addition of a proven veteran to the group would be worth considering, especially when someone like former Indianapolis Colts star T.Y. Hilton is still a free agent.
Hilton needs little introduction to NFL fans because the 32-year-old has been a consistent force for the past decade. However, he has yet to find a team after departing from the Colts after the 2021 season, despite it now being Week 3.
Hilton is likely waiting for the right opportunity, and the Cowboys could be that chance. The receiver would bring experience and a Pro Bowl pedigree to a Dallas group that is lacking both.
Hilton’s Decorated Decade with Colts
When the Colts drafted Hilton in 2012, they could have only hoped for the career the receiver had. The third-round pick out of Florida International is now known for being a great pass catcher, but he started out strong as well.
As Pro Football Reference shows, Hilton started only one game as a rookie, but totaled 861 receiving yards, seven touchdowns and averaged a whopping 17.1 yards per catch.
That was just the beginning. Hilton earned four Pro Bowl nods as he cracked the 1,000-yard receiving mark five times over the next six years, with 2016 standing out as he led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,448.
His production understandably slowed in his older years, playing 10 games or fewer in 2019 and 2021, with 2020 featuring 762 yards in 15 appearances. However, his nose for the end zone has not disappeared, as he has caught 13 total touchdown passes over the past three seasons.
There’s no question that Hilton still has “it.” It’s just a matter of utilizing him in the right situation.
What Would Hilton Cost Cowboys?
The tricky part of figuring out whether Hilton makes sense is that he has been making a lot of money for the past six years. Spotrac states that the Colts gave Hilton a one-year, $8 million deal for 2021 after previously paying him $65 million over five years on his previous deal.
Obviously, $8 million for a 32-year-old receiver coming off a season with 331 receiving yards isn’t going to work for Jerry Jones. However, Dallas could get a deal similar to what they gave linebacker Anthony Barr.
Barr is getting $2 million for the 2022 season, with the majority of it guaranteed. Offering Hilton somewhere in the $2 million to $3 million range with a full guarantee gets Hilton his money but also keeps the price down for Dallas, which has $12.47 million in cap space.
Adding Hilton raises the floor for the team and brings a guy known for big performances to a group transitioning away from Amari Cooper as the No. 1 WR.