Wide receiver Michael Pittman of the Indianapolis Colts will need a new contract soon. But he made it clear on April 14 that he will not be very involved in the negotiations.
Pittman also explained that he doesn’t have to receive his next contract immediately.
“If it doesn’t happen this year, that’s no big deal. It’ll happen eventually, right?” Pittman told The Athletic’s James Boyd. “I just kind of let that business side … just leave that to my agent because that’s what I pay him to do. You don’t really want it to be muddied up.
“From guys that I’ve talked to, it can get ugly if you’re in those meetings and stuff like that. So, I don’t want anything to do with those. I just want to play.”
Pittman is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He will count as about a $3.9 million cap hit for the 2023 season.
Contract Situation for Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr.
Pittman has developed into Indianapolis’ top wide receiver. The question going forward is whether he should be paid like one of the top receivers in the NFL.
The 25-year-old posted a career-high 99 receptions and 70.2% catch percentage in 2022, but he averaged just 9.3 yards per catch and scored 4 touchdowns. The 99 catches ranked Pittman 10th in the NFL last season, but the only receivers with 50 receptions to post fewer yards per catch last year were Greg Dortch and Russell Gage.
But Indianapolis’ quarterbacks are likely the reason Pittman struggled to make more big plays down field during 2022. The Colts were fourth-to-last in yards per pass attempt in the NFL.
Pittman is more of a possession receiver, so he’s not likely to be a guy that averages more than 15 yards per reception. But across his first two seasons, he posted 12.4 yards per catch with a 67.4% catch percentage.
In 2021 with Carson Wentz at quarterback, he led the Colts with 88 receptions, 1,082 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. He was the only Indianapolis pass catcher that season with more than 400 receiving yards.
Boyd wrote his production through three seasons warrants him being paid a hefty sum on his next deal.
“Whether he is a true No. 1 receiver is hard to gauge given the circumstances, but according to Spotrac, Pittman’s production at this point in his career is on par with where Brandin Cooks, Robbie Anderson, Terry McLaurin and Christian Kirk were when they landed new deals,” wrote Boyd.
Spotrac projected Pittman’s market value on an average annual basis to be $18.4 million on a four-year contract.
Colts RB Jonathan Taylor Also Due for New Contract
It’s an encouraging sign for Colts fans that Pittman won’t be very involved in his own negotiations. But the trickiest part about Pittman’s new deal could be that running back Jonathan Taylor will need a new contract soon too.
Taylor is also entering the final year of his rookie deal. The Colts don’t have a fifth-year option on either player because both were second-round picks.
The Colts could theoretically use the franchise tag next offseason but only on one player. To keep both, general manager Chris Ballard will have to sign either Pittman or Taylor to a long-term deal.
Spotrac projected Taylor to be worth $13 million on an average annual basis also on a four-year contract.
In total, Spotrac predicted the Colts will have to spend more than $125 million to secure both Pittman and Taylor on long-term deals.