The Indianapolis Colts are moving on from Reggie Wayne. And while it's still hard, it's something that we knew would be coming at some point. And regardless of whether he was back, it was clear that the Colts would need to address the wide receiver position this offseason.
Wayne had a rough 2014 season in which he caught 64 passes for 779 yards and two touchdowns, dropping a number of passes as he played through a torn triceps. By the time the playoffs rolled around, Wayne was nothing more than a decoy and in three playoff games he caught just one pass combined. Still, however, Wayne finished second on the team in receptions and yards for the 2014 season - so, while he lost his effectiveness, he was still the team's second-leading receiver. And now he's gone.
The team has T.Y. Hilton, who is firmly established as the number one guy and a legitimate threat at that. He's emerging as a very good all-around receiver and worthy of the top spot on the depth chart. But he can't do it alone, as evidenced in the AFC Championship game. Donte Moncrief is entering his second year and his role is expected to significantly increase, as last year he was essentially just a deep threat. The hope is that he can develop into a more complete receiver while maintaining the deep threat and giving the Colts another option besides Hilton. And then Duron Carter was signed by the Colts this offseason from the CFL, and while he's raw and needs work, he has a lot of talent and is a young player. In other words, the Colts have some good young talent, but the Colts need a veteran receiver to go along with them.
So where do the Colts go from here now that Wayne isn't coming back? There was some talk about the Colts being in the running for Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall in a trade, but that won't happen since Chicago traded Marshall to the Jets earlier today. A likely target now could be Andre Johnson, who isn't officially released/traded from the Texans yet but who almost certainly will be soon. Might the team re-sign Hakeem Nicks for another season? Or would they go after a different receiver in free agency? It's all up in the air right now, though the most likely option does seem to be Andre Johnson for the Colts.
One thing is clear, however: the Colts will need to add a receiver this offseason. They needed to even before they announced that Reggie Wayne wouldn't be coming back, but now it's an even bigger need. Because for as ineffective as Wayne was down the stretch last season, he was still second on the team in receptions and yards in the regular season. They need to find someone who can not only fill Reggie's role but improve upon it, giving the Colts another legitimate receiving threat to take some of the pressure off of T.Y. Hilton.
They needed to address the position anyway, but even more so now that Reggie Wayne won't be coming back.