One of the things that Chris Ballard and the Colts did this offseason was sign free agents to low-risk contracts. For many players, that meant not giving them guaranteed money beyond year one, but for a handful of others, it meant giving them only one-year deals.
The most notable of those one-year signings was wide receiver Kamar Aiken, who got a one-year deal worth $2.6 million, with $1.5M guaranteed. Colts fans are very interested in seeing what he can do, and they’re not the only ones.
Today, ESPN’s Field Yates ranked the top ten one-year contracts signed this offseason, and the Colts signing Aiken came in at number nine. Here’s what Yates wrote:
I was surprised to see a tepid market for Aiken, who is just a year removed from a 75-catch, 944-yard, five-touchdown season. The Colts have made major investments in the wide receiver spot, including locking up T.Y. Hilton long term and drafting Phillip Dorsett in the first round in 2015, but Aiken should compete for plenty of playing time. It wouldn't stun me if Aiken trailed Hilton and tight end Jack Doyle for targets but pushed Donte Moncrief for the third option in the passing game.
With the base value of this deal at only $2.6 million and further incentives based on making the active roster, Aiken represents significant value for Indianapolis.
One of the main reasons why the deal is so interesting is because Aiken has been a proven receiver at the NFL level already. Though he bounced around with the Buffalo Bills (2011) and New England Patriots (2012) to begin his career, he found a home in Baltimore with the Ravens in 2013. He caught 24 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns that year, and the following year had a breakout season. He started 14 games and played in all 16, catching 75 passes for 944 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 12.6 yards per catch. In 2016, however, he saw his role diminished and he grew frustrated about that fact, as he started six games (playing in all 16) and caught just 29 passes for 328 yards and a touchdown. In his career, he has played in 51 games and started 20 of them, catching 128 passes for 1,539 yards and nine scores, averaging 12 yards per catch.
It seems that his market in free agency was down because of his down 2016 season, and that’s why he was glad that the Colts not only gave him a contract but promised him a chance to compete. He felt like he didn’t get a fair chance in Baltimore last year, so he should now have the chance to prove himself in Indy. If he does, he’ll be poised for a bigger contract next offseason.
Though it’s unclear exactly what his role will be, it seems certain that he’ll see significant reps. He should slide in as the number three wideout behind T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief, and he’s certainly got the talent and ability to make an impact.