The Dallas Cowboys have injected a veteran presence into their wide receiver group with T.Y. Hilton after a pursuit of Odell Beckham Jr.
Dallas had pulled back from their overt recruitment of OBJ in the past week or so, but always repeated that they are interested in Beckham. Hilton signing with the Cowboys came as a bit of a surprise, but he fits the role of a veteran receiver who has proven his ability consistently over the past decade.
Now that the contract is signed, Hilton has been speaking about his experience joining the Cowboys. However, he did send an interesting message to Dallas and Beckham during his introductory presser.
The 33-year-old receiver made it clear he’s cool with OBJ still joining the Cowboys and that the team’s pursuit of the former Los Angeles Rams star didn’t bother him or affect his decisions.
“It didn’t play a role [in my decision] at all,” Hilton said. “If he can help this team, go get him.”
Hilton’s feelings on the matter likely wouldn’t factor too much into Dallas and owner Jerry Jones’ decision-making, but it’s worth noting how the Cowboys’ newest receiver.
New Cowboys WR Talks New Role
After spending 10 seasons with the same team, Hilton is starting fresh for the first time in his NFL career. Being that he’s now 33 years old, he’s also arriving with a different role and mission in mind.
Hilton made it apparent that he’s been hard at work right away, and that he knows one of his biggest responsibilities is passing on his knowledge to the receiver group, from CeeDee Lamb to Jalen Tolbert.
“I think I can bring veteran leadership,” Hilton said. “My job is to help these guys as much as I can. Right now, I just want to concentrate on staying in the playbook. I’ve been studying the past two days, probably 15 hours [a day], just getting this thing down… However I can help, I’m willing to help.”
Hilton’s new contract reflects that sentiment. As ESPN’s Todd Archer reported, much of the deal is incentive-based, with the receiver getting bonuses just for making gameday rosters.
Hilton isn’t coming in to be a starter based on his contract, which likely explains why OBJ coming to Dallas isn’t out of the question yet.
Hilton Brings Experience, Accolades to Dallas
For the better part of the past decade, the Indianapolis Colts passing offense had been anchored by Hilton’s presence. Hilton was a known talent as a third-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, but he more than returned the initial investment.
Pro Football Reference shows that Hilton took off right away, catching 50 receptions for 861 yards and seven touchdowns. However, his next six seasons would solidify him as one of the NFL’s top receivers.
Hilton averaged over 1200 receiving yards a season from 2013 through 2018, going for 7236 total receiving yards in that span. He never had less than four touchdowns in a season over that stretch and only missed three total games.
Injuries, aging and other issues with the Colts have seen Hilton’s production decline in recent years, with his best season since 2018 coming through the 2020 campaign, where he totaled 762 receiving yards and five touchdowns.