We are less than two weeks away from the start of free agency, and the Colts are going to have quite a bit of money to spend. We're beginning to hear reports of players that the Colts might be interested in. A rather significant one is that, per a report from Vic Lombardi and an NFL.com story by Kevin Patra, the Colts appear to have interest in Eric Decker, and the feeling is mutual. Wrote Patra:
"Eric Decker is a smart man.
"If the Denver Broncos won't pay him enough to keep him catching passes from Peyton Manning, the wide receiver would like to go catch balls from another all-world passer: Andrew Luck.
"According, to WCNC-TV's Vic Lombardi, theIndianapolis Colts have interest in pursuing Decker. The interest appears mutual, according to Lombardi."
This should come as absolutely no surprise to anybody following the Colts at all. The Colts really need a wide receiver, and Eric Decker is one of the best ones on the free agent market this offseason. The fact that there is interest from the Colts isn't surprising, and the fact that Decker would like to play with Andrew Luck and the Colts offense in Indianapolis shouldn't be a surprise either.
That said, I'm still not so sure it will actually happen. The Colts need a number one wide receiver, and there are doubts about whether Decker really is that. He will very likely be overpaid this offseason too, which would continue a disturbing trend started last offseason by Ryan Grigson in severely overpaying for free agents. The very nature of free agency means that teams are going to be overpaying for players, but not always in outrageous amounts.
The Colts have some receivers right now in Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Da'Rick Rogers, Griff Whalen, and LaVon Brazill. But Reggie is coming off of a torn ACL and while there is no doubt whatsoever on whether he will be back, there are legitimate questions to be asked on just how effective he will be upon returning to the field. T.Y. Hilton is a superstar in the making, no doubt, and in the second half of 2013 showed that he can handle a number one receiver role, but he is still best suited with a legitimate number one receiver opposite him and functions better that way. Da'Rick Rogers, Griff Whalen, and LaVon Brazill all showed some potential late in the season, but there is no way that the Colts can enter next season with those three guys all expected to play a major role - they need to add another receiver and continue to try to develop those three - in particular, Rogers.
What the Colts need is a number one receiver. I'm not sure if that is Eric Decker. The Broncos reportedly don't view him as one, and they've seen him play in Denver for the past few seasons. It seems that a lot of people view Decker as a number two receiver who will be paid like a number one - which some team might bring him in to be. But I'm not sure that's the best move for the Colts to make - a team that needs a number one receiver paying number one receiver type money to a player who might only be a number two receiver. Last offseason should give Ryan Grigson plenty of warning signs before signing Decker.
I'm not saying it would be the worst move the Colts could make - they could do a lot worse than adding a talented wide receiver for Andrew Luck. But I'm not sure it would be the best use of their money this offseason. There should be no surprise that the Colts and Decker have mutual interest. But I would be surprised if the Colts actually signed him.
In four seasons with the Broncos, Eric Decker has played in 62 out of 64 games and has caught 222 passes for 3,070 yards and 33 touchdowns, averaging 13.8 yards per catch. He has surpassed 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of the last two seasons, his only two seasons with Peyton Manning. In 2013, he caught 87 passes for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns.