Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard held his annual pre-draft press conference on Friday afternoon.
The sixth-year general manager spoke highly of free-agent wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. The two have remained in touch with one another, leaving the door open on a potential return and an 11th season with the Colts.
“We’ll still have some talks with T.Y.,” Ballard said Friday. “I think you all know my feelings toward T.Y. Hilton. I think he can still play.”
Last offseason, the Colts re-signed Hilton to a 1-year, $10 million deal. In 2021, Hilton had just 331 receiving yards and three touchdowns through ten games (nine starts). It’s also worth noting that Hilton, although valuable both on and off the field, hasn’t played a full season since 2017, largely because of injuries.
Hilton is also 32-years-old, which is something Indy has to factor into their decision.
Remember, though, Hilton did have a small market last offseason before choosing to re-sign with the Colts, so regardless of his age, there may be another team who’d be willing to offer him more money.
It remains unclear how long and thorough the discussions between Ballard and Hilton have been through the last few weeks, but Ballard’s language Friday and admiration for Hilton’s leadership may help the two sides reach an agreement.
Perhaps new wide receivers coach and former teammate/mentor Reggie Wayne can help lure Hilton back to Indy for what may be his final season in the NFL.
There’s no bigger need for the Colts than wide receiver, and Hilton’s veteran presence both on and off the field makes him such a valuable asset for Indy.