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T.Y. Hilton needs to finish his career with Indianapolis Colts

Chris Phillips

Currently, T.Y. Hilton is a free agent. The long-time Indianapolis Colts player is looking for a team, possibly a new team, to play for this upcoming season. It’s relatively clear that Hilton is about out of gas. His numbers have dipped over the past couple of seasons. Mainly due to injury and getting older. However, I still remain optimistic that Father Time hasn’t yet knocked Hilton out of the ring. 

T.Y. Hilton’s regression isn’t entirely his fault

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Part of my reasoning for why T.Y. Hilton still has something in the tank is that the last two quarterbacks for the Colts, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz, weren’t that good. Breaking news here I know.

But Wentz only had eyes for Michael Pittman Jr. Everyone else needed to wait their turn in Wentz’s decision-making if MPJ wasn’t open. That decision Wentz needed to make was a) do I force the ball to MPJ or b) take off and run.

If he didn’t like those options then he’d scan the field for an open receiver. Usually landing on the first guy he saw. This is not actually what he thought yet it highlights that Wentz is not good at reading the field both pre and post-snap.

With Rivers, I firmly believe that since he’s never played with such a talented receiver who is vertically challenged, he wasn’t sure how to play with him. This is most likely 100% dumb fan speak but I’m just not sure why the Rivers to Hilton connection never clicked.

Hilton could still win deep, maybe not to the degree he used to. And Hilton is a good route runner. I wonder if Rivers was so used to looking for guys over 6 feet tall that he didn’t think to look a little lower. Subsequently, as the season wore on, you start to see some chemistry between the two, which supports my delusional theory.

Related: Indianapolis Colts rise, fall, and a possible return to title contention in 2022

Hilton may not be at the hilltop, but he’s still good

As previously stated, Hilton has also dealt with injuries a bit more over the past couple of years. As we all know, when you get older, your body doesn’t rebound or respond as well as it once did. It takes longer to come back. However, it is this guy’s opinion that Hilton might not be done just yet.

The days of having him be the team’s number one wide receiver are definitely done. But being a seam stretching slot or a rotational receiver is still in play. The Colts have young ascending talent in MPJ. They’re hoping that recent draft pick Alec Pierce is a success and can be the Robin to Pittman’s Batman. And let’s not forget Parris Campbell either. 

I’ve been on record of saying that I think the pressure is off Campbell and this season will be his best. And that he’ll play double-digit games for the team and give the organization serious consideration to giving him a second contract.

So, if Hilton is brought back he can be a veteran presence to the youngsters and still make impact plays when on the field. Let’s not forget that during the game against Las Vegas last season, Hilton scored on a deep touchdown and quite possibly could or should have had a second one had Wentz not been, you know, Wentz.

There is still some big-play ability in his game, and considering the Colts are a more ground-and-pound style of offense, they’re going to need big play ability from their receivers. Maybe most importantly, Hilton ranks number three all-time in Colts receiving history in a majority of receiving categories:

  • 1076 targets
  • 631 receptions
  • 9691 yards
  • 67.8 yards per game
  • 53 touchdowns (4th)

The players ranked ahead of Hilton — Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, both retired as Colts. When a player has played for an organization for this long and his career is this decorated, it’s only right that the pairing stays together until the very end. Especially when the player can still positively contribute to the organization both off and on the field.

The Colts have enough money and room on the roster to add Hilton. They should do it now while everyone is healthy and the need isn’t great. It would only take one injury in the wide receiver room for the Colts to really be hurting at that position. Having Hilton in the fold now would help everyone sleep a little easier at night.

Related: Andrew Luck belongs in the Indianapolis Colts’ Ring of Honor