T.Y. Hilton Landing Spots: Could the Chiefs, Packers, or Texans look to the veteran Colts WR?

After an injury-hit season, what are the potential landing spots for Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton if he reaches free agency in 2022?

It has been a tough season for Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton as he looks set to potentially head to free agency in 2022. Will there be a market for the veteran receiver, and if so, what are Hilton’s potential landing spots?

T.Y. Hilton landing spots

The emergence of Michael Pittman Jr., along with Hilton’s injury issues, has made it all the more likely Indianapolis may look to move on from him this offseason. There is a chance the Colts decide to bring Hilton back just for his leadership and veteran presence. Nonetheless, it would be surprising if they do so before exploring other options in free agency.

The problem is whether there will be a market for Hilton. In two of the last three years, he has been plagued with injuries, mainly to his lower body. With four weeks left in 2021, he has played just six games this year, having played just 10 in 2019. Some of those injuries have included groin strains and a calf tear. Additionally, a neck injury that cost him five games to start this season will be something teams are concerned about.

If the Colts decide they are ready to move on, retirement could be an option for Hilton. He has played his entire 10-year career so far in Indianapolis. Additionally, the injury concerns could limit the value of the contract offered. If that is the case, he may decide that playing on a one-year, prove-it deal is not worth the risks, especially given he has suffered a concussion this season.

However, Hilton proved in 2020 that he can still provide value to the Colts’ offense. Last season, he had 56 receptions for 762 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns on 93 targets. Hilton proved he can be that veteran contributor to a younger receiving corps. Let’s look at which teams might be potential landing spots for Hilton this offseason.

The Indianapolis Colts remain very much in play to bring Hilton back

In 2021, the Colts brought Hilton back on a one-year, $8 million contract. The injury concerns of this offseason will likely mean they are not willing to fully guarantee all of that again, but there are other options. They could include a lot of per-game bonuses, so the risk of bringing him back is low other than a roster spot.

The reason the Colts would do it? To keep what has developed into a solid offense. Hilton provides that leadership to the roster and can be a solid secondary option opposite Pittman. The most likely outcome is that the Colts at least look at free agency and who they could add prior to bringing him back. A younger option such as James Washington might be viewed as a more long-term solution.

Could the Houston Texans add their longtime tormentor?

If Hilton is available in free agency, a place like the Texans would make a lot of sense. He would be a perfect foil for Brandin Cooks and provide another veteran leader for a roster that desperately needs it right now. A trio of Hilton, Cooks, and Nico Collins would be a solid trio for whoever is playing QB.

Additionally, the Texans could take a player who has tormented them out of the equation by having him on their roster. In 20 career games against the Texans, Hilton has 103 receptions for 1,820 yards and 11 TDs at 17.7 yards per reception. The question is whether Hilton would be willing to sign with a division rival? Would his loyalty to the Colts make him hesitate?

The other two AFC South teams are also likely to be in the WR market this offseason

There is no division more thirsty for receiving options than the AFC South. We have already discussed the needs of the Colts and Texans, but both the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars could be active in the market this offseason.

The Titans especially could look for the veteran addition to further support A.J. Brown. The Julio Jones experiment has not looked great, but having a receiver other teams respect can open up other elements of the offense. However, with Jones still under contract in 2022, it seems unlikely that the Titans would move on from Jones to add another injury concern in Hilton. Additionally, having Jones and Hilton on the roster would mean two injury-prone receivers to worry about.

As for the Jaguars, the role they are looking for at receiver is more likely of the No. 1 type. Jacksonville already has Marvin Jones in that veteran No. 2 role. The Jaguars may decide to build their passing attack around the talents of Laviska Shenault Jr. and Travis Etienne. If that is the case, Hilton and Jones could be valuable as an outside pairing.

Again, the problem with both of these destinations is the rivalry with the Colts. Would Hilton be willing to go and take a one-year prove-it deal with a rival of his team? If these are the only options on the table, you could see Hilton potentially leaning towards retirement.

Kansas City desperately needs a veteran contributor at WR

It would be fascinating to see the Chiefs as a potential landing spot for Hilton. This offense looked most dangerous when Sammy Watkins was the third pass-catching option. Hilton would be a solid enough option that teams would have to respect.

Still, his health could be a hesitation for the Chiefs. Going away from a younger option that could have a long-term future for a one-year fill-in who might only play 10 games seems counterintuitive in terms of long-term planning. Then again, the Chiefs are in a win-now window, and you never know when that might end.

Could the Packers bring in Hilton to support Aaron Rodgers?

Hilton in Green Bay would be an intriguing fit. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers turned to Randall Cobb as that solid veteran option the QB could trust. While Rodgers has spoken glowingly of some of the young receivers, have they done enough to merit another contract?

Nevertheless, the Packers’ plans at the position could depend on Rodgers and Davante Adams. If they bring back their star WR and QB, they could look to a veteran option as they push for a Super Bowl. If Rodgers remains, the Packers’ window to win is right now, and they need to just park their long-term planning for at least 2022.

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