The Indianapolis Colts added two pass catchers with their first two selections of the 2022 NFL Draft, including wide receiver Alec Pierce. But media personality Darius Butler says that the Colts should be interested in adding another receiver.
While appearing on The Pat McAfee Show on June 13, Butler adamantly argued that the Colts should try to trade for Washington Commanders wideout Terry McLaurin.
“I want to get this guy to Indy,” Butler said. “We need this guy to Indy. Get Matty Ice a weapon. We’ve got the money, write the check [Jim] Irsay.
“Get this guy back home.”
Further spreading the McLaurin to the Colts rumors, host Pat McAfee reported on June 14 that McLaurin, who is originally from Indianapolis, was “liking tweets about Reggie Wayne being the greatest wide receivers coach of all time.”
Wayne is entering his first season as wide receivers coach in Indianapolis.
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Colts Reportedly Inquired About Trading for McLaurin
While liking tweets really shouldn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of the NFL, McLaurin to the Colts doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibilities. Lead Colts analyst Zach Hicks of Sports Illustrated reported on June 13 that the Colts inquired about trading for McLaurin “a few months back.”
“Washington was firmly against it but who knows what will happen with the recent hold out,” tweeted Hicks.
McLaurin did not show up to minicamp on June 14 according to multiple reports. Washington NFL reporter Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post reports the Commanders and McLaurin have continued negotiating for a new contract, but that the two sides are far apart. McLaurin left Washington and returned to Florida to train on his own.
Jhabvala also reported that McLaurin could receive a maximum fine of $95,877 for missing all three days of minicamp.
McLaurin is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Spotrac reports he will make $2.79 million in 2022.
That’s far below his market value. Spotrac projects that McLaurin would receive a contract with an average annual salary of about $21 million if he were on the open market this summer.
McLaurin has recorded 222 catches, 3,090 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns in 46 games over three seasons with Washington. He has posted 1,000-yard campaigns each of the last two years despite Washington starting six different quarterbacks.
How McLaurin Could Fit With the Colts
While Hicks’ report is intriguing, it doesn’t confirm that Indianapolis is still interested in McLaurin. Colts head coach Frank Reich has expressed a lot of confidence in Pierce and some of the other young Indianapolis receivers this offseason.
“That group has looked good. We’re not in pads, it’s all kind of offensive drills, so you temper that a little bit,” Reich said at OTAs on June 1. “We’ve got to get into training camp with pads on. [But] I feel good about the group.”
The Colts could be content to see how their young receivers fare this season. That’s presumably why they haven’t re-signed T.Y. Hilton.
But if Indianapolis is still interested in McLaurin and acquires him, he will arrive in his hometown as the Colts’ new No. 1 receiver.
McLaurin has big-play ability. He averaged 15.8 yards per catch and scored seven touchdowns as a rookie in 2019.
He is also a reliable target. McLaurin has averaged more than five receptions per game and posted a 62.1% catch percentage over the last two years.
To acquire him, general manager Chris Ballard will have to give up multiple draft picks and then sign McLaurin to a new deal worth north of $20 million per season.
It cost the Philadelphia Eagles the 18th and 101st overall picks this past draft to trade for Tennessee Titans receiver A.J. Brown. The Commanders, if they are willing to trade the young star receiver, will likely ask for a similar package of picks.
Spotrac reports the Colts are 18th in the NFL with about $10.6 million in salary cap space. They could work a contract for McLaurin in a way where he fits under the cap, but any other moves Ballard does this offseason will be done with the intention of also signing guard Quenton Nelson to a record-setting contract very soon.