The Colts will arrive at Grand Park in Westfield two weeks from today to report for training camp. It’ll be the first time for fans to get a glimpse of Matt Ryan, Yannick Ngakoue, Stephon Gilmore, Alec Pierce and other new faces but one familiar face (for now) won’t be there.
T.Y. Hilton remains a free agent and outside of a brief blip on the rumor mill about him possibly going to the Ravens early on in free agency, his name has been brought up little to none since then. The 32-year old hasn’t said much of anything in regard to his future either. The last social media post of his to even remotely hint at his future came back on May 10 that just read: Patience is (key emoji)
Patience is 🔑
— TY Hilton (@TYHilton13) May 10, 2022
Tight end Jack Doyle announced his retirement back in March and the assumption seemed to be that Hilton wouldn’t be too far behind. But now we’re two weeks from training camp opening and have no clearer picture as to The Ghost’s future. If he has any desire to play, it needs to be with the Colts. Not only because it’s the only place he’s ever played but the 2022 Colts could use him for multiple reasons.
A Veteran Presence on a very young WR group
This is the easiest reason to bring back T.Y. Hilton, in my opinion. He’s on the back end of his career (clearly) but at 32 years old, even with injuries catching up and potentially losing a step or two, he still has value on and off the field with what he brings to the locker room. Hilton has been the gold standard for wide receivers since Reggie Wayne hung up the cleats. He’s been Mr. Reliable. The guy who could be counted on to haul in a pass on a gotta make it 3rd and 7. The Colts don’t appear to have any of those guys on the roster at the moment. The oldest wideout at the moment is Keke Coutee at 25 years old and who doesn’t carry the resume that Hilton does. Outside of Coutee, it’s Michael Pittman Jr., rookie Alec Pierce, Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin, Dezmon Patmon, Mike Strachan, you get the point.
A veteran presence of T.Y. could not only help the young wide receivers (along with the coaching of Reggie Wayne) but would add veteran weapon to assist Matt Ryan. Even a T.Y. Hilton in a lesser role will keep opposing defenses honest when defending him. He’ll still command respect from the guys he lines up across from and while it would be foolish to predict anything close to 1,000 yards or 100 catches on the season, he could still have enough juice in the tank to at least eclipse 10,000 career receiving yards (he needs 309 to reach the milestone), T.Y. Hilton as a 3rd or 4th option on this Colts roster let’s the young guys in Pittman and Pierce blossom while still adding a veteran presence that can bail the team out when it’s money on the table time.
Slim Free Agent Options
If the Colts want to add a veteran wide receiver who isn’t named T.Y. Hilton, the names still available are still out there for a recent. The most successful of the bunch is Odell Beckham Jr., not only is he recovering from a torn ACL in the Super Bowl but he’ll also command the largest contract of the free agent wideouts still on the market. The uncertainty in his recovery time and overall health would make this a pretty risky signing for the Colts. On top of that, Chris Ballard has never been a proponent for signing big name/money wide receivers. He isn’t going to start now with OBJ. Other options are Julio Jones, Cole Beasley, Will Fuller, Emmanuel Sanders, Allen Hurns, DeSean Jackson, etc. but I can’t say I’d pick one of them over T.Y. at this point. Matt Ryan previously worked with Julio Jones in Atlanta but all signs point to Jones being on the backend of his career with injuries starting to really catch up with him. He became expendable the second the Titans pulled the trigger on a trade for Robert Woods. Hilton is the best of what remains out there and he’s someone the franchise obviously knows extremely well while everyone else would be a complete unknown.
One Last Hurrah
T.Y. Hilton is a fan favorite and it would be fun to see him suit up one last time, with everyone knowing this is it. I’m not asking for a Mike Krzyzewski retirement tour with over the top send offs ahead of every game but it would be cool to see Hilton get the proper goodbye from the Colts faithful that he’s rightfully earned. A game where he crosses the 10,000 yard receiving mark, his 650th catch (he needs 19 more receptions), one last time to haunt the Texans, it could be a lot of fun. On top of all that, the Colts should be right in the thick of it when it comes to playoffs. They are fortunate to be in the worst division in the AFC so despite other AFC teams loading up in the off-season, the Colts have the advantage of being in what boils down to a two-team division race with the Titans. What happens when/if they make the playoffs is anyone’s guess but with Hilton on the team it would definitely increase their chances.
So there it is, my reasons for why T.Y. Hilton should be in a Colts uniform if he wants to continue playing football. I have no idea if those are his wishes but it would be a shame to see him want to continue his career and he suits up in a jersey without a horseshoe on the side of the helmet. What does a contract look like for him? Do the Colts still want him or have they closed that book? All questions I don’t have an answer to. We’ll have to wait and see what happens once camp opens up in two weeks but it would be cool to get one last ride with T.Y.
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