Chris Ballard Addresses T.Y. Hilton’s Free Agency

T.Y. Hilton

Getty The Indianapolis Colts are leaving the door open to re-signing veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton.

The Indianapolis Colts still have work that could be done to improve their wide receivers. Colts general manager Chris Ballard isn’t ruling out any method to upgrade the position.

That includes re-signing veteran wideout T.Y. Hilton.

“We’ll still have some talks with T.Y. [Hilton],” Ballard said during his pre-draft press conference on April 22. “I think you all know my feelings towards T.Y. Hilton. I think he can still play. I think he can still play productive football.”

The Colts don’t currently have a wide receiver older than 25 on their roster. Hilton, who turned 32 in November, doesn’t possess the same speed he once did, but he also could provide some much-needed leadership to Indianapolis’ wide receivers.

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Colts, Hilton Just Need to Settle on a Price?

Ballard received three followup questions involving Hilton during his press conference. The Colts general manager declined to say what, if anything, was holding up the contract negotiations.

But Ballard did say he’s communicated recently with Hilton and that the two sides need to engage in more thorough negotiations.

“I think it’s a lot of we just got to sit down – we’ve had some back and forth,” Ballard said. “I texted back and forth with him this week as a matter of fact, and we’ll continue to have some discussions. I won’t get in depth with it.”

Hilton hasn’t spoken publicly about his free agency recently. But at the beginning of free agency on March 14, Hilton expressed to multiple media outlets that he would prefer to return to Indianapolis.

“Would I love to finish my career there? Absolutely,” Hilton said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “But I also have to look at other teams. I’m a free agent, so it’s only right that I do my due diligence and see what’s out there and see what teams are looking for.”

Hilton also delivered a message to the Colts during the opening week of the new 2022-23 NFL calendar year.

“If you want me, then come get me,” he said on NFL Network. “If Indy wants me, they know where to find me and my agent.”

Spotrac projects Hilton to be worth about a two-year, $12.58 million deal with an average annual salary of $6.29 million. Spotrac reports the Colts have roughly $13.5 million left in salary cap space for the 2022 season.

Colts Need a Veteran Wide Receiver

Not only does Indianapolis have zero receivers older than 25, the Colts have just one wideout who has recorded more than 400 receiving yards in a single NFL season. Most of the receivers currently on the Colts roster don’t even have 400 receiving yards in their careers.

Many NFL mock drafts this offseason have picked the Colts to target wide receivers with the No. 42 overall pick — their first selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.

While drafting a receiver would be a longterm solution for the position, it only makes the 2022 Colts wideout group younger and more inexperienced.

Hilton has 10 years of NFL experience, all in Indianapolis. He has posted 631 receptions, 9,691 receiving yards and 53 touchdowns in 143 career games.

Last season, Hilton registered a career-low 23 catches for 331 yards. While that could be a sign that Hilton is close to the end of his career, Ballard made clear he thinks the veteran wideout can still play.

The Colts may just be exercising patience to see what happens in the draft before making Hilton a more concrete offer.

“We’ll see,” Ballard said in response to waiting until after the draft to sign Hilton. “Yeah, we’ll see.”

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