When the report came out yesterday from the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder that the release of Gosder Cherilus might have been at least in part due to financial reasons, I said that it wouldn't be a bad idea to give star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton a new deal this year. The reason behind that thinking is that, since the Colts have the cap room, and because Hilton won't be getting any cheaper and really wants a new deal, it would make sense to get it done now, giving them one less player to worry about next offseason.
That might be exactly what the Colts are hoping to do as well. Today, Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reported that Hilton and the Colts are currently talking about a long-term deal, with the wideout wanting around the $14 million a year range.
"The Indianapolis Colts and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton are currently negotiating over a long-term deal, according to sources including agent Drew Rosenhaus," Cole said. "Rosenhaus, however, cautioned that a deal getting done in advance of training camp is unlikely at this point, when talking to him last week. However, one of the things that you can look for when Hilton gets this deal is for it to be close to the deals signed by Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas. What Hilton is basically aiming for is that 14 million dollar a year threshold. In fact, he tweeted out is 14 million dollars a year the bar that is going to be set right now? The problem that Hilton has in getting close to that 14 million dollar a year number is that he has one year left at 1.5 million dollars on the contract he originally signed as a third round draft pick in 2012. Look for something to get done, perhaps not as early as this week, but relatively soon for T.Y. Hilton."
Earlier this offseason, Dez Bryant and the Cowboys agreed to a 5-year, $70 million deal with $45 million guaranteed, while Demaryius Thomas and the Broncos also agreed to a 5-year, $70 million deal with $43.5 million guaranteed, paying both players an average of $14 million per year (according to Spotract). According to Cole, that is the mark that Drew Rosenhaus and T.Y. Hilton are going for, likely shooting for a deal that rivals that of Bryant and Thomas.
Some of the recent projections for Hilton's new deal have come in slightly lower than that. Our own Andrew Aziz projected a 5-year, $57.5 million deal with $23 million guaranteed ($11.5 million a year), while Spotrac projected a 5-year, $60 million deal with $31.8 million guaranteed ($12 million a year). While Hilton likely isn't quite worth $14 million per year (especially if that's the deal that Dez Bryant, arguably the best receiver in the league, just received), but the Bryant and Thomas deals helped raise the market a bit for talented young receivers - a category that Hilton absolutely fits into. Do I think that Hilton is worth $14 million a year? No, particularly if that's the price it takes to keep Dez Bryant for Dallas. But with that said, I did think that he would get around $12 million a year, and that was before the Bryant and Thomas extensions. Those deals inevitably raised the price for Hilton, and so while I don't think $14 million is the right price for him, it's probably still closer to that number than many fans think.
Furthermore, Cole reports that the Colts and Hilton's camp are currently working on a long-term deal that, though it's not likely to get done before training camp, should get done soon. That confidence would seem to indicate that the Colts are very much intent on keeping Hilton around and that the receiver wants to stay with the Colts. The question is: how much money will the two sides agree on? It seems likely that the Colts would want Hilton to come down a bit from the $14 million a year mark, and perhaps Hilton's side is willing to do that a bit - just using the $14 million mark as a starting point. We don't really know the details of the negotiations, but we now have a report that says they are currently ongoing and that a new, long-term deal could be coming soon for Andrew Luck's favorite target.