Though the main point of Chuck Pagano’s comments regarding the wide receiver position yesterday were about developing the younger guys in the group, the comment that received the most attention was Pagano saying that they are looking at some free agent wideouts as options.
“We’ve got some young guys that we want to focus on a little bit, and there are some guys out there that we’re looking at as well,” Pagano said. A little later in his press conference, he was asked whether the Colts might sign a veteran at the position and he said, “you’re always looking at the cut down based on your roster, based on injuries and based on need. It wouldn’t be just specific to that position alone.”
Colts fans began trying to figure out who the team might be interested in, and one of the best free agent wide receivers still available is Brian Hartline. Might the Colts have interest?
According to the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder, it’s not likely. Holder writes that, “the Colts have not had any recent discussions with [Hartline].”
Hartline spent the first six years of his career with the Miami Dolphins and most recently played for the Cleveland Browns in 2015. The 29-year old receiver has played in 104 career games, catching 344 passes for 4,766 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 13.9 yards per catch. He recorded back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in 2012 and 2013, and last year with the Browns played in 12 games (starting four) and caught 46 passes for 523 yards and two scores.
As Holder noted, it’s unlikely that the Colts will add a guy who will have an immediate role. Any signing that could happen won’t be continuing the trend of one-year veteran wideouts signed but instead would be purely for depth. There aren’t a ton of options available right now, but I’d expect the Colts to be especially diligent in monitoring cuts from other teams. In the meantime, they’ll give their younger receivers - like Chester Rogers and Tevaun Smith - even more reps and opportunities.