INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 27: Reggie Wayne #87 of the Indianapolis Colts walks off of the field after the Colts lost 27-19 to Carolina Panthers at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
In trying to come to terms and rationalize the debacle that is the season, many have forgotten the Colts still have one of the most talented receiving corps in the league. We just didn't have someone to get them the ball.
Frustrated and fed up with Curtis Painter's unfathomable ineptitude, Reggie Wayne took matters into his own hands with a vintage 56-yard run after the catch for a score last week against the Panthers.
This week with someone to finally throw them the ball, the receivers came alive. Garcon and Collie both had season highs in catches with Garcon exploding for another season high 150 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.
With Garcon in particular, it was nice to see he wasn't just taking bubble screens to the house and was actually making catches downfield.
If you weren't sure whether the Colts will bounce back next season, Sunday's game should increase
your confidence. The trio of Garcon, Wayne and Collie along with a healthy Dallas Clark is still one of the most
dynamic and explosive groups in the league so long as they can get the ball. Last season Wayne was second in the
the first six games Austin Collie was at the top of the receiving columns before he went down with concussions.
With either Manning or Luck ready to rush to the rescue, the Colts receivers should once again be seeing of plenty of
passes come their way.
The question remains however, whether or not Wayne and Garcon will even be recruited back.
I believed this before, but the last few weeks have shown that both players should be re-signed.
Not only are they top playmakers, but whether it's Manning or Luck, both quarterbacks are going to need top-flight receivers to throw to.
If it's Peyton Manning, it would be almost criminal to waste the efforts he has put into rehabbing and his last two or three years by not surrounding him with not only guys who are among the league's best, but guys he has such a good rapport with.
Why upset and hamper your star quarterback before the season even begins?
If it's Luck, having Wayne and Garcon will be equally important. Not only will those guys help the Colts contend again, but they would be critical for his long-term development. Look no further than the delinquent Rams front office to see how not surrounding a young quarterback with top talent can derail his progress. Peyton Manning came to a team with Marvin Harrison, one of the greatest receivers all time.
Even at 33 Wayne is still a top-flight receiver. Last year at 32, Wayne had a career-high 111 receptions so its safe to say his decline is proportionally related to Curtis Painter more so than age.
Especially if Manning comes back, why not keep the pair together the for their last three years?
Assuming the front office comes to a logical conclusion (far from a sure thing), the question becomes far more about money than will.
Can the Colts bring back Wayne and Garcon? Yes, if they are willing to let go other players such as Bullitt, Brackett and the like. Furthermore, if Peyton Manning retires or - God forbid - is let go, the Colts will have much more cap room and money shouldn't be as big an issue.
Do Wayne and Garcon want to come back? After this year we can't be sure, but I imagine they would, especially if Manning returns. If not, Wayne may want to try and get more money elsewhere and pair up with a veteran quarterback to avoid going through the learning curve with Luck. Still, Wayne has been in Indy is whole career so he has to have at least a partial desire to retire a Colt.
If Colts can make their finances work and have the money to spend, bringing back both Wayne and Garcon would go a long way in helping the Colts regain their contenders status.