Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard indicated he doesn’t intend to to re-sign former receiver T.Y. Hilton right now during a press conference with Indianapolis reporters on Tuesday, August 31.
“Do I think T.Y. [Hilton] can still play? Absolutely I do. … But right now, I like our group, and we like our group,” Ballard said regarding the Colts’ third all-time leading receiver, now a free agent after spending a decade — his entire NFL career — with the team.
Many fans have called for the Colts to get a proven player as their No. 2 receiver behind rising star Michael Pittman Jr., but it seems as if things will be quiet on the receiver acquisition market.
Hilton’s Legacy in Indianapolis
Hilton was drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft and provided an immediate impact on the field. Over the course of his 10-year career in Indianapolis, Hilton racked up 631 receptions for nearly 9,700 yards and 53 touchdowns.
Hilton may have lost a step on the field while dealing with injuries and poor quarterback play over the last three seasons, but his legacy in Indianapolis continues. Hilton hosts an annual Strikes For Kids event while also partnering with DREAM Alive, an Indianapolis-based organization that serves at-risk youth.
The Colts’ third all-time leading receiver is 32 years old but still has some gas in the tank. While Ballard seems to have ruled out any current talks with Hilton, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him return to Lucas Oil Stadium if any injuries to the wide receiving corps were sustained.
Best Options Available at Receiver
While Ballard is content with the receiving depth chart, there certainly are still some questions in the room that could be addressed.
The Colts’ wide receiver corps is extremely inexperienced. Pittman is heading into only his third year in the NFL but is far and away the most experienced player at the position. Rookie Alec Pierce and oft-injured Parris Campbell Jr. round out the starting trio with young guns Ashton Dulin, Michael Strachan and Dezmon Patmon behind them.
There are still solid veterans on the market who could look to bolster the depth and to provide some much-needed leadership in a young group.
A 12-year veteran in the league, Emmanuel Sanders has been there, done that. From Super Bowl-winning star receiver to the third or fourth man on the depth chart, Sanders is willing to compete in any situation.
In 2021, Sanders played in 13 games for the Buffalo Bills, tallying 42 receptions for 626 yards and 4 touchdowns. He served as the Bills’ fourth receiver at times but proved that he still has plenty left to offer. Sanders would be the perfect mentor for the young guns in Indy while also providing some talent at the position.
A true threat with the speed to take the top off any defense, Will Fuller would be perfect for the Colts offense. Fuller has had an up-and-down career saturated with injuries. But when healthy, he is one of the best downfield receivers in the NFL. Fuller missed all but three games in 2021 but was rock-solid in 2020, hauling in 53 receptions for 879 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Fuller may not bring the veteran savvy of Sanders, but his game would open up Reich’s offensive playbook and be a dynamic weapon for new quarterback Matt Ryan.