Playing Devil's Advocate: Was signing DHB a bad move?

We got him. Great signing. Stoked. So excited. Such were the reactions in the comments section on Brad's article about the Colts signing Darrius Heyward-Bey. Given the qualities many of us have been saying we want in a wideout, it's easy to see why so many are excited about DHB suiting up for the Colts. He's got good height (6' 2"), good size (218 lbs), and speed to spare (4.3 second 40). He doesn't have the ultra-elite measurables of a Calvin Johnson or A.J. Green, but his blazing speed makes up for it. Additionally, many are excited that it's a one-year "prove it" deal that is ultra low risk for the Colts.

So what's not to like?

Well, a number of things. In fact, the potential drawbacks might outweigh the benefits of the signing. Before I go any farther, let me make this one disclaimer: I'm not entirely sure how I feel about DHB yet, but I'm leaning on the side of positive. I'm only writing this to make sure both sides of the question are available for discussion. With that said, let's dive into the reasons why signing DHB will hurt the Colts.

  1. The Colts will likely pass on a WR in round 1. On face, this seems like a silly reason to decry the signing. Of course the Colts won't draft a WR in round 1; DHB fills that need. The problem is that there are going to be a few receivers who have the skill set to be truly elite, and who will come much cheaper in the long run. Whether you prefer DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, Justin Hunter, or even later-round prospects like Robert Woods, the draft is stacked with receivers who have high upside. My personal favorite of the bunch is DeAndre Hopkins. He's got decent size, solid game speed, catches everything in his zip code, and appears to be ultra humble and unselfish (note: I'm a huge sucker for those last two). The problem here is that DHB's skill set is mirrored by a number of these prospects. The natural argument is that signing DHB will allow us to address other needs at #24, but to be honest there aren't many legitimately solid prospects. The two pass rushers that have been brandied about (Datone Jones and Damontre Moore) both have a lot of downside due to maturity concerns, work ethic, and, in Jones's case, motor. We need a long term game-changer at receiver, which leads to the second point...
  2. DHB will not become elite. DHB certainly has (most of) the physical tools necessary to become a tremendous game breaker, but he's just not a very good receiver. Zach Kruse of wrote an interesting article addressing the question of whether DHB is a "diamond in the rough" or "just another Raiders bust." You can read the full text here. For those of you who don't have the time or the interest, the general gist is that he drops far too many balls and runs really shoddy routes. The copy-pasteable excuse for his lack of production over the past four years is that Oakland has had one of the worst coaching and quarterbacking situations over the past several years. Unfortunately for the Colts, the person throwing the ball doesn't affect the quality of your routes or your ability to catch (assuming the pass was catchable). Even if I'm wrong, however, this is still a harmful signing because.....
  3. His contract is too short. I totally understand why he was signed to a 1 year deal. It protects the Colts in case he busts for the afore-mentioned reasons. The problem is that if he does have a stand-out year, we'll suddenly have to overpay to retain him in free agency. The way to avoid all of this would have been to sign him to a 2 year deal with 2.5 million guaranteed. It would have cost us 1 million more, but would have given us time to negotiate or find his replacement. Finally....
  4. The Colts overpaid and Ryan Grigson is the worst GM of all time. Neither of those are actually true; I just felt weird ending a numbered list with only three points.
Will DHB suddenly blossom and have a break-out year? I certainly hope so. Indianapolis is a far better franchise than Oakland, and if he is going to finally live up to his potential, it will be here. The obvious way for the Colts to insulate themselves is to just go ahead and draft a receiver in the first round, but I doubt Grigson and company will given this signing. My gut says DHB will become a star, but my head isn't so sure.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.