According to NFL Insider Josina Anderson, Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard wants the final opportunity to match any potential offer to longtime veteran wideout T.Y. Hilton in free agency:
Just got off the phone with #Colts WR T.Y. Hilton. "I spoke with Chris (Ballard) before I left town last Tuesday. He told me he would at least like a chance to match any potential offer I get on the market. I'm just gonna let other teams do their due diligence at this point."— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 15, 2021
The 31 year old wideout is hitting free agency for the first time in his impressive 9-year career and is coming off a season for the Colts in which he caught 56 receptions for 762 receiving yards (13.6 ypr. avg.) and 5 touchdown receptions during 15 starts in 2020.
While no longer a bonafide #1 wideout, Hilton proved that he still has gas left in the tank and can be a complementary piece going forward in the Colts offense. He caught fire down the stretch, as all five of his touchdown receptions came in Indianapolis’ final six games.
As one of the game’s best consistent deep threats recently:
T.Y. Hilton on 20+ yards throws since 2012:— PFF (@PFF) March 13, 2021
94 catches (2nd)
3,411 yards (2nd)
Hilton ranks as WR8 and No.39 overall in PFF’s free-agent rankings pic.twitter.com/68EwDNwZzy
Hilton may have been limited a bit by retired veteran quarterback Philip Rivers’ diminished arm strength downfield (and additional coverage attention rolled his way in a young receiving corps) and could potentially see an uptick in production with new Colts quarterback Carson Wentz behind center—who has historically excelled with stretch-the-field types.
The former 2012 3rd round pick and beloved longtime Colts wideout ranks 3rd in receiving yards (9,360), 4th in receptions (608), and 4th (tied) in receiving touchdowns (50) in Indianapolis franchise history—having played his entire career to-date in Horseshoe Blue.
While Ballard won’t overpay Hilton purely because of sentiment and past production, if his garnered market value aligns with the Colts’ own contract valuation, he could finish his career in Indy.
If nothing else, Ballard still wants ‘the ball in his court’ for a final shot to potentially bring Hilton back to Indianapolis.