Proposed Trade Connects Colts to All-Pro Wide Receiver

Frank Reich

Getty The rumor mill has still connecting head coach Frank Reich and the Indianapolis Colts to wide receivers on the target market.

The Indianapolis Colts are going into 2022 training camp with one of the most inexperienced group of wide receivers in the NFL.

Head coach Frank Reich expressed his confidence in the group during the early part of the summer, but that hasn’t swayed many opinions in the media. In fact, one NFL writer suggested on July 25 that the Colts could make a major splash on the trade market at wide receiver.

NFL writer Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report proposed the Colts give up their 2023 first-round pick for San Francisco 49ers All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

“Of course, several teams would line up for Samuel’s services, but the Indianapolis Colts should go above and beyond to acquire him,” Moton wrote. “They have a 37-year-old quarterback in Matt Ryan on a playoff-caliber roster; the team is in a win-now window.”

Such a trade would mean the Colts don’t have a first-round pick for the fourth time in five years. But in this proposed deal, Indianapolis lands the NFL’s leader in yards per reception last year.

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Colts Need to Open up Passing Game?

Even with the upgrade of Matt Ryan behind center, Indianapolis is expected to be a run-first offense again in 2022.

Who can blame them for that? Running back Jonathan Taylor has averaged 5.3 yards per carry in his two-year career, and he led the NFL with 1,811 rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns last season.

Moton, though, isn’t as confident that the offensive line will open holes for Taylor like the unit did in 2021.

“With open positions at left tackle and right guard, the Colts should make an attempt to bolster their aerial attack in case Jonathan Taylor isn’t as effective on the ground compared to the previous season when he rushed for a league-leading 1,811 yards,” wrote Moton.

The Colts lost left tackle Eric Fisher and right guard Mark Glowinski in free agency this offseason. Guard Danny Pinter and tackle Matt Pryor are projected to replace those departed veterans.

Rookie Bernhard Raimann is another possibility at left tackle. The Colts selected Raimann with their second third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Not many analysts share Moton’s theory that the Colts could struggle on the ground because of their two new starters on the offensive line. But there’s no denying a better passing attack could give the Colts offense more balance and efficiency.

Samuel would obviously be a huge boost for the Indianapolis passing game.

Colts Searching for No. 2 Receiver

Michael Pittman Jr. emerged as a top wideout with his first 1,000-yard campaign last season. But the team’s next leading receiver was Zach Pascal with 384 yards, and he left in free agency.

Veteran Parris Campbell and second-round pick Alec Pierce are expected to compete during training camp for the No. 2 role opposite Pittman. But neither is guaranteed to be a playmaker this fall.

“Parris Campbell has battled injuries, missing 34 games in three seasons. Rookie second-rounder Alec Pierce must prove himself,” Moton wrote. “Samuel can elevate the passing attack immediately, and he wouldn’t have to play a significant role as a ball-carrier with Taylor in the backfield.”

Samuel rushed for 365 yards and 8 touchdowns in addition to leading the 49ers with 77 catches and 1,405 receiving yards. But NFL Insider Ian Rapoport said on The Rich Eisen Show on July 20 that Samuel wants a more traditional wide receiver role as opposed to recording touches out of the backfield.

That, though, could make Samuel an ideal fit for the Colts. Indianapolis has a lot of depth at running back and will not have to use the 49ers wide receiver in the backfield if they acquire him.

Still, it’s a little hard to see general manager Chris Ballard giving up another first-round pick for a veteran and dealing for a player who will need a contract extension immediately when guard Quenton Nelson still needs his own new contract.

Plus, the Colts still have T.Y. Hilton available in free agency to fall back on if they want a veteran receiver. At this point in his career, Hilton is far from the player Samuel is, but he is a lot cheaper.

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