The Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday signed wide receiver Kamar Aiken, a good addition to their wide receiver corps.
It was a good signing by Indy, but the question is how he will fit in with the Colts’ offense. It was assumed that he would get the chance to compete for some serious playing time, and it turns out that will be the case.
“With Chris [Ballard], we had a good talk,’’ Aiken said on a conference call with Indy media today, according to CBS4’s Mike Chappell. “I was told there is going to be open competition basically in our receiver room, which is better for the whole receiver room, and then I would still have my special teams role as well.’’
T.Y. Hilton is coming off of a career season in which he led the league in receiving yards, but after that the Colts don’t really have their receiving depth chart solidified. Donte Moncrief is a talented wideout, but he was injured for a large portion of last season. Phillip Dorsett has disappointed as a former first round pick, but he’s got some value as a deep threat. And Chester Rogers impressed last year as the number four wideout. Aiken, however, should push for a starting spot, and at this point looks like he might wind up as the number three receiver behind Hilton and Moncrief. That would mean a good amount of snaps for him, while it sounds like he’ll still be contributing on special teams too.
That open competition had to be appealing to Aiken, since it seems like something that he didn’t get in Baltimore. His big chance came in 2015 with the Ravens, where he started 14 games as other wideouts were injured, and he made the most of the opportunity. He caught 75 passes for 944 yards and five touchdowns, and following his breakout season you’d figure the Ravens would move him up the depth chart in 2016, right?
Wrong, according to Aiken, who expressed his frustration with the lack of opportunities with the Ravens in 2016.
“It was definitely frustrating because I felt like I did enough to at least have the opportunity to build off of what I did the year before,’’ he said. “But I really didn’t have that. My role was dropped back on the depth chart and then basically special teams. There was nothing that I was doing to say, ‘Well, he’s not doing this well. He’s not doing that well.’ That’s just what it was. I just got in there week 1 and the next thing you know I look at the depth chart and now I’m back [down] the depth chart.’’
Aiken clearly has a chip on his shoulder from his time with the Ravens, and part of what appealed to him about the Colts was the fact that he’ll be able to seriously compete for a significant role in their offense.
Another plus about the Colts? The quarterback, Andrew Luck.
“It played a lot [in the decision],’’ Aiken said regarding the fact that the Colts have Luck at QB. “I have heard nothing but great things about him. I actually took some visits and was able to sit down with some players from other teams and they spoke highly of him. That put it in perspective how people around the league feel about him. I want to play with somebody that is great and that has the work ethic that wants to win and wants to see his receivers be successful.’’
Aiken will find that in Indianapolis with Andrew Luck, who not only is very driven to win but who’s a very good quarterback too. And he’ll have the chance to compete with the other guys in the receiver room for snaps, and he’ll likely have a solid role in Indy’s offense next year. The signing seems like a good fit for both sides.