What the Indianapolis Colts need is a veteran wide receiver this offseason, not a rookie. And, according to a report from Bleacher Report's Jason Cole, the Colts have been looking into veteran wide receivers such as Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, Mike Wallace, and Vincent Jackson.
It sounds like at least one of those players is certainly available, and it's the one who has had the most productive career of any of the group mentioned. The Houston Chronicle's John McClain reported last night that the Texans have granted Andre Johnson's agent permission to seek a trade and that, if no suitors are found, the longtime Texans star will be released.
In his 12-year career (all with Houston), Johnson has played in 169 games and has caught 1,012 passes (9th-most all-time) for 13,597 yards (12th-most all-time) and 64 touchdowns, averaging 13.4 yards per reception. He ranks fourth all-time in receiving yards per game over his career with 80.4 and is the Texans' all-time leader in nearly every receiving category. He is a seven-time Pro Bowler, a two-time first-team All-Pro, a two-time second-team All-Pro, and has led the NFL in receiving yards twice.
The receiver, who will turn 34 years old this summer, wants to play at least two more seasons, according to McClain. In 2014, he caught 85 passes for 936 yards and three touchdowns, but was told by head coach Bill O'Brien last week that his role would be reduced in the upcoming season. Johnson therefore asked if a trade or release could happen, and the Texans likely will grant such a request.
Would Johnson be a good target for the Colts? In short, yes - as long as he doesn't come at a huge price. There are better receivers out there than a 34-year old Johnson, but depending on the price there might not be a better value than Johnson, who has a resume that will earn him consideration for the Hall of Fame when he retires. We've talked about how the Colts do need a veteran receiver to go along with the players that they currently have, and if the team brought in Johnson he would likely be the second receiver. A group of receivers featuring T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, maybe Reggie Wayne, and maybe some contribution from Duron Carter wouldn't be a bad group. Johnson would be that veteran possession receiver that is missing from their offense right now.
I don't expect Johnson to be traded to the Colts. It could happen, but I highly doubt that Houston wants to trade their star receiver to their division rival that has won the last two AFC South titles. If they do trade Johnson to the Colts, it would show one thing very clearly: they really respect the receiver. But I don't expect the Colts to be the team that Johnson is traded to because of that inter-division rivalry. If the receiver is released and becomes a free agent, however (which is certainly possible since teams know that if Johnson isn't traded he will be released), then I wouldn't be surprised to see the Colts make a run at him. And as long as they don't pay him like one of the NFL's top receivers (which he has been but no longer really is this stage in his career), he would be a very nice add despite his age and would fill a need that the Colts have.