Former Matt Ryan WR Target Cut, Becomes Free Agent Option for Colts

Matt Ryan

Getty A wide receiver who has experience working with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan became a free agent on August 30.

The Indianapolis Colts released four wide receivers as part of their cuts on August 30 to reduce their roster to 53 players. But a wideout part of another team’s roster cuts could be an intriguing add now for the Colts.

The Miami Dolphins released veteran receiver Mohamed Sanu on August 30. Sanu turned 33 on August 23 and isn’t the same consistent threat he once was in his career. But if the Colts are still considering a veteran presence in their wide receiver room, Sanu could be a fit.

He also has experience working with new Indianapolis quarterback Matt Ryan.

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Sanu’s Experience with Ryan

Following his rookie contract, Sanu signed a 5-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons before the 2016 season. He was one of the big pieces Atlanta added to its roster that offseason who helped propel the Falcons to a Super Bowl appearance.

In 2016, Sanu posted 59 catches for 653 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was one of 13 Falcons receivers to record a touchdown reception. Ryan threw 38 touchdowns with a 69.9% completion percentage and 4,944 passing yards on his way to league MVP.

Sanu didn’t finish his contract with the Falcons, as the team dealt him to the New England Patriots before the trade deadline in 2019. But in three full seasons with Atlanta, Sanu averaged 64 catches, 731 yards and about 4 touchdowns per season.

Last year with the San Francisco 49ers, Sanu only played in 8 games before getting placed on injured reserve. In 8 contests, he posted just 15 catches for 177 yards. Sanu had under 200 receiving yards in 10 games during the 2020 season.

The last time Sanu had more than 520 receiving yards in a season was his last full year with the Falcons in 2018. Age is likely the biggest reason for Sanu’s decline, but reuniting with Ryan could be what Sanu’s career needs.


Colts’ Wide Receiver Depth Chart

But this question remains — is bringing in Sanu what Ryan and the Colts need?

Indianapolis kept six wide receivers when the team cut its roster to 53 players on August 30. Michael Pittman Jr., Parris Campbell and Alec Pierce are expected to be Ryan’s top three receiver targets this season. Ashton Dulin is pretty firmed in the WR4 position and should be a contributor on special teams.

The final two Colts receivers on the depth chart are Dezmon Patmon and Mike Strachan. Both young wideouts had strong preseasons to earn their spots. Despite very little NFL experience, Indianapolis kept them over Keke Coutee, who posted 400 receiving yards just two years ago in 2020.

None of those six receivers are older than 25. Obviously, Sanu has more experience than any of those aforementioned receivers.

But the Colts have had other opportunities to sign experienced wideouts and haven’t this offseason. They reportedly didn’t express much interest in Julio Jones and have yet to bring back longtime Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton.

Hilton is still a free agent. If Indianapolis really wants an experienced receiver, he might be the choice instead of Sanu.

One element Sanu would bring that the Colts don’t already have is his ability to throw passes. He is 7-for-8 with 233 yards and 4 touchdowns in his career.

Sanu hasn’t attempted a pass in the NFL regular season since 2018. But signing Sanu could still keep opposing defenses honest and on the lookout for trick plays.

Still, a couple trick plays probably isn’t worth cutting a receiver with higher upside in the long run. Adding Sanu is an intriguing idea for the Colts, but it might take an injury to make it happen.

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