Not much went right for the Indianapolis Colts offense during the 2022 season. But one thing that did improve as the season went was the play from veteran wide receiver Parris Campbell.
After dealing with numerous injuries in each of his first three years in the league, Campbell played in every game last season. Finally healthy, Campbell posted career highs of 63 catches, 623 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Campbell is now a free agent and could be playing elsewhere in 2023. But Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon argued that the Colts should consider re-signing Campbell.
“He could form a productive trio with Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce under new head coach Shane Steichen, and the Colts will have plenty of cap space if/when they release veteran quarterback Matt Ryan,” wrote Kenyon.
Campbell is one of two free agents the Colts have at wide receiver this offseason. Ashton Dulin, who has predominantly played on special teams in his career, will also reach the open market in free agency.
Reasons for Colts to Re-Sign Parris Campbell
Last season, the Colts had one receiver returning who had more than 400 receiving yards the previous campaign. In fact, Indianapolis had zero receivers on their 2022 preseason roster who had eclipsed the 400-yard receiving mark in their career other than Michael Pittman Jr.
If the Colts re-sign Campbell, they would have three wideouts who had 500 yards in 2022.
Campbell started 2022 very slowly, recording just 5 catches in the first three games. That included zero receptions on 2 targets in the embarrassing 24-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2.
But Campbell began to be very involved in the offense by the middle of October. He received a combined 23 targets in Weeks 6 and 7 and hauled in a career-high 10 catches versus the Tennessee Titans. Campbell also scored touchdowns in both weeks.
He posted 52 receptions for 511 yards along with 58 rushing yards in the final 12 games.
The Colts should open up cap space with the release of veterans such as quarterback Matt Ryan. But Spotrac doesn’t anticipate it taking much room to re-sign Campbell.
Spotrac estimated Campbell’s market value to be $2.5 million on a one-year contract. Pro Football Focus projected Campbell’s value to be considerably higher but still affordable with a $7.75 million average annual salary ($23.25 million on a three-year deal).
PFF ranked Campbell the seventh-best wide receiver set to be available in free agency this offseason.
Competition the Colts Could Have for Campbell in NFL Free Agency
While Kenyon identified the Colts as one of the best three fits for Campbell, the Bleacher Reporter writer also argued Indianapolis will have competition for his services. Kenyon called the Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills great fits for Campbell as well.
“Despite Campbell’s career year, the Indianapolis Colts were a disaster last season, which resulted in the midseason firing of head coach Frank Reich,” Kenyon wrote. “He’s now the head coach of the Panthers, who have a few decent receivers but could use someone with familiarity in Reich’s system.”
Similar to Indianapolis, Campbell could also form a dynamic trio in Buffalo with Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. But Kenyon wrote that to join the Bills, Campbell could be required to sign a one-year deal.
Regardless, the 25-year-old should have options when NFL free agency begins on March 15. That makes it more likely that Campbell will receiver offers closer to PFF’s projection than Spotrac’s estimate.
With Pittman as the team’s top receiver and emergence of Alec Pierce, the Colts may be reluctant to offer Campbell a major contract. But Pittman, Pierce and Campbell at wide receiver would be great building blocks to give any rookie quarterback.