Indianapolis Colts franchise great wide receiver T.Y. Hilton hasn’t made a decision yet on his football future—currently playing on a 1-year, $8 million contract, and will mull it over this upcoming offseason.
However, he wants to have a conversation with longtime teammate Jack Doyle, as the two are the longest tenured active Colts players—nearly entering the league together:
T.Y. Hilton (age 32) said he will talk to Jack Doyle (31) this offseason in making a decision on whether or not to play next year.— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) December 22, 2021
Hilton is a free agent. FWIW, Doyle has another year left on his contract.
Hilton and Doyle have been teammates since 2013.
Having battled through some injuries (and perhaps with father time catching up), the consistent production hasn’t been there yet this season for Hilton, who at 32 years old, has 16 receptions for 196 total receiving yards (12.3 ypr. avg.) and a touchdown reception during 7 games (6 starts).
Nevertheless, he’s still shown his value in the Colts locker room and off the field, as Hilton was recently named the team’s 2021 Ed Block Courage Award recipient. He remains one of the veteran leaders in the Colts ‘clubhouse’ and a mentor to their young wideouts.
As a 4x NFL Pro Bowler, Hilton is one of the Colts’ all-time great wide receivers ranking 4th in receptions (624), 3rd in receiving yards (9,556), and 4th in touchdown receptions (4th) all-time in franchise history respectively.
That being said, the franchise and him may be finally reaching an impasse—should Hilton elect to continue his impressive playing career for at least one more season.
It took a massive fan support movement and team owner Jim Irsay to persuade Colts general manager Chris Ballard to increase his initial free agency offer to Hilton last offseason—which Hilton finally accepted after an earlier standoff between the two sides.
Entering his 11th NFL season ahead of the 2022 campaign, Hilton could still provide value to a team as a proven veteran wideout—albeit presumably with a pay cut from his current salary.
However, he’d be coming off diminished production in 2021, won’t be playing special teams at this late stage of his football career, and at a listed 5’10”, 183 pounds, isn’t necessarily the same caliber of perimeter blocker as a Michael Pittman Jr. or Zach Pascal along the outside—for a Colts offense whose identity is now power running the rock with Jonathan Taylor.
It limits his natural fit somewhat with the Colts going forward.
There is value in his veteran leadership and as a proven deep threat, but things could very well get murky again—should Hilton elect to continue his playing career this upcoming offseason.
It doesn’t mean that he hasn’t had a great lengthy Colts career and shouldn’t be commended accordingly.