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Colts Free Agency: Should the Colts Re-Sign Reggie Wayne?

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The Colts have several decisions to make about who to re-sign and who to let walk in free agency. We're taking a look at several of them, and today we examine whether the team should re-sign wide receiver Reggie Wayne or not.

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Of all the free agent discussions that we have had over the past few weeks and will have coming up, there isn't another discussion like this one: should the Colts re-sign Reggie Wayne?

Wayne is a 36-year old wide receiver who is coming off of a torn ACL in 2013 and a torn triceps in 2014.  We all know that there is historically a big drop off in production once receivers turn 35, and Wayne not only is older than that, he's also dealt with some injuries recently.  Plus, in 2014 Reggie Wayne had what was undoubtedly the worst season of his 14-year NFL career.  Starting 15 games, Reggie caught 64 passes for 779 yards and two touchdowns.  He also dropped a number of passes and was, for the most part, only a decoy as the season ended.  In three playoff games, he caught just one pass combined.  A lot of that can possibly be attributed to his injury, as he played for much of the season with an elbow injury and a torn triceps that required offseason surgery, but regardless, it was a very rough year for Reggie Wayne.

Not only is he a free agent this offseason, Wayne is also considering whether to retire or not.  And really, this is likely the biggest factor there is: does Reggie Wayne want to come back for another year?  He has stated a number of times that he won't play for another team besides the Colts, so it's pretty apparent that either he'll be with the Colts next season or he'll be retired.

Based on the production in 2014, it's hard to justify bringing Reggie Wayne back.  But a couple of things make it a move that the Colts should make if indeed number 87 is wanting to return.  Firstly, a reasonable and realistic case can be made that the injuries derailed his season much more than age did and that if he's healthy next season Reggie Wayne would play better.  Secondly, however, is the fact that Wayne is one of the greatest players in Colts franchise history.  He already owns the team record for most games played and most wins he was a part of, and he's just 236 yards and 33 receptions away from breaking Marvin Harrison's franchise records in those categories as well.  If he returns, it's fully expected that Reggie would set those marks.  Third, he's a terrific leader and locker room presence.  Listen to the way other players, especially T.Y. Hilton, talk about Reggie Wayne and it's easy to see why the players would want him back - and fans do as well.

Here's what I'm really saying: if Reggie Wayne wants to come back in 2014, the Colts should bring him back.  I really don't think Wayne will make a demand for a certain salary that's too high for where he's at in his career and I think that, as long as he's not commanding a big contract, there's not a lot of reason for the Colts to not bring back the veteran receiver for one more year.  His role may change and his contract might be smaller, but if he chooses to come back and is willing to do so for a reasonable price, I think the Colts should and would bring him back.  But, of course, this is putting the cart before the horse, because at this point there's no guarantee whatsoever that Wayne will even chose to return to the field.