The Indianapolis Colts announced on Friday that they will not be bringing back longtime star wide receiver Reggie Wayne. Team owner and CEO Jim Irsay said in the press release that, "we feel this decision is in the best interests of the team and for Reggie as it will allow him to seek a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere if he so chooses." Of course, Reggie has said publicly this past year that he won't play anywhere else but Indianapolis.
According to the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder, however, now that the Colts have moved on from Reggie he will at least listen to offers from other teams.
Now that the Indianapolis Colts great has been informed by the team that he will not be re-signed, a source with knowledge of Wayne's plans says Wayne will give consideration to offers to play for other teams.
Wayne, 36, has said in the past he would not play for any team other than the Colts. But given the abrupt breakup between he and the team - the Colts didn't give him the option to return - Wayne might be inclined to reconsider those plans.
This will be a very tough and interesting decision for the veteran receiver. From what I've heard, I get the sense that he feels he can still play and that much of his lack of production a year ago was due to his injury that he fought through to stay on the field. He has said before that he won't play for another team but the Colts, but what happens when that Colts team says emphatically that they don't want you anymore?
That's the decision that the 36-year old Wayne is facing right now, and it's not an enviable one. To be fair to Reggie, through the first six games of the season (the games he was healthy in) he was on pace to catch 91 passes for 1,117 yards and three touchdowns, which would be very good production out of a 36-year old number two receiver. But his injury derailed things, and you can't help but wonder whether, if Reggie hadn't fought through a torn triceps to stay on the field, if he would still be with the Colts now. There's a legitimate case to be made that his struggles weren't mainly because of age but because of injury.
Would another team give him a chance? That's unknown. Would the Patriots, who were interested in him back in 2012, be interested in him again? Or the Broncos, with Peyton Manning at quarterback? Or what about a team like the Chiefs who desperately need wide receiver help? There might be a market for the receiver, but I think the bigger question is whether he wants to play enough that he's willing to leave the Colts to do so. That's a question that only Reggie Wayne can answer. It is important to note, however, that Reggie Wayne was not released - the Colts just said they wouldn't be re-signing him. Therefore, his contract does not expire until 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 10 - though the legal tampering period begins today. So his agent can field offers this weekend but Reggie couldn't sign anywhere until at the earliest on Tuesday.
I also find it interesting in Holder's report that the Colts didn't even offer Reggie a contract, which shows just how much they wanted to get rid of him. Perhaps they knew that almost any offer they gave to remain a Colt would be accepted and didn't even want that. It is interesting, however, that the Colts didn't even offer one of their greatest players ever a contract whatsoever.
There is still a lot of uncertainty and it's still very much a possibility that Reggie Wayne will retire, but according to Stephen Holder, the receiver will at least listen to offers.