The 2018 NFL free agent market of wide receivers was already pretty thin, yet top-heavy. If teams wanted a true difference-maker from the open market then they were essentially limited to Jacksonville’s Allen Robinson or Los Angeles’ Sammy Watkins. After that, the talent level takes a dip and you’re left with a lot of WR2’s and WR3’s.
The Indianapolis Colts only have two receivers under contract for 2018 who have had any sort of meaningful NFL playing experience: T.Y. Hilton and Chester Rogers. After that, you’ve got guys like K.J. Brent, Krishawn Hogan and DeAndre Smelter.
Naturally, you would think that the Colts would make a strong run at one of the top available pass-catchers. After all, they went after Alshon Jeffery pretty hard last offseason. The Colts did, reportedly, push for Watkins this week, but he chose to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs instead.
The nature of free agency is over-spending to fill holes. Colts general manager Chris Ballard isn’t going to break the bank for just anybody. Both Robinson and Watkins have their red flags, and it means that Ballard wasn’t going to get into a bidding war and pay huge money for risks like that.
The Colts probably aren’t going to have a big, flashy receiving corps in 2018. Instead, they may pick up a couple of mid-level guys as well as some draft picks in order to both get them by during the season, but then to also develop, grow and become dependable players for the Colts for the foreseeable future.
While it is a little disappointing that the Colts weren’t able to bring in Robinson or Watkins, it’s a good thing that they’re not going to be paying them $16 million per year (Watkins) or $14 million per year (Robinson).
Other wide receivers who are reportedly no longer available are Marqise Lee (Jaguars), Donte Moncrief (Jaguars), Paul Richardson (Redskins), Albert Wilson (Dolphins), John Brown (Ravens), Taylor Gabriel (Bears) and Ryan Grant (Ravens).
Since the receiver market is diminished to this point, the Colts may have to pick up some guys who wouldn’t necessarily fit what they normally go for. Some players who we may see them express interest in are Terrelle Pryor, Jordan Matthews, Jordy Nelson, Eric Decker, Kendall Wright, Cody Latimer, Jaron Brown, Michael Floyd and Bruce Ellington.