This week, T.Y. Hilton told reporters that he wants to remain with the Colts “for life”. Hilton also indicated that the team has engaged in talks with his representatives. That’s all true, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), though he hears that the Colts have not yet “dug in” on negotiations with the wide receiver. The talks, so far, have been preliminary, and there’s no exact timetable for when things might pick up.
There’s one year left on Hilton’s deal, set to count for $14.5MM against Indy’s salary cap. Colts GM Chris Ballard, ideally, would like to nudge that number down with a reworked deal. Hilton would probably be willing to accommodate, provided that he gets an extension with some guaranteed dollars. That deal, Hilton says, will be his last in the NFL, regardless of length.
Drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft, Hilton was a difference-maker right from the get-go. In Year One, Hilton showed he was a serious deep threat with 861 yards off of just 50 catches, good for 17.2 yards per grab. Things only got bigger and better from there. Over the course of the next seven years, Hilton tallied more than 8,000 yards, 500 catches for exactly 40 touchdowns and an average of 16.0 yards per catch. That, of course, was during his healthy seasons. Last year, Hilton’s calf capped him at just ten games – he finished with 45 catches, 501 yards, five scores, and perhaps a few questions as to whether he can still be the same player moving forward.
“I think [playing with Philip Rivers] will be special,” said Hilton, shrugging off any concerns (via NFL.com). “I think the way I’m training, the way my body feels, and Philip doing his thing. I feel like it’ll be an All-Pro year for me.”
Those who have watched Hilton’s work over the years tend to agree – he deserves one final payday with the Colts. Nat Newell of the Indy Star laid out a compelling case for the wide receiver this week, though he noted a key stat going against Hilton. Over the past two decades, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith, Reggie Wayne, Anquan Boldin, and Hines Ward have been the only players to top 1,000 yards after their age-32 season. Hilton turns 31 in November, so the Colts might not be willing to give him WR1 money beyond 2021.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.