Other than 2019, one man has led the Indianapolis Colts in receiving yards every season for the past nine years. However, that may change in 2021 as their third-round pick of the 2012 NFL Draft hits the open market. Are there any NFL rumors around potential landing spots for T.Y. Hilton, and could he sign for a team today?
T.Y. Hilton Landing Spots
While the Indianapolis Colts have had to work their way through multiple quarterbacks, one element of their offense has remained consistent. T.Y. Hilton has been the go-to guy at the wide receiver position for the past nine years. The diminutive pass catcher had four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons between 2013 and 2016. Additionally, he was just 34 yards short in 2017 of making that six consecutive seasons.
He now tests a wide receiver market that hasn’t been as explosive as expected. At the time of writing, the two big names at the top of the wide receiver rankings — Kenny Golladay and JuJu Smith-Schuster — remain unsigned. As the result of a deep 2021 NFL Draft class on the horizon, there may not be the expected market for veteran pass catchers. Therefore, the only real rumors about T.Y. Hilton indicate a return to Indianapolis. Those were fueled by a series of tweets between Hilton and Colts teammate Kenny Moore II.
Adding further fuel to a return fire, Colts owner Jim Irsay was reported as saying that the Colts want to bring Hilton home.
On the other hand, if he doesn’t return to Indianapolis to link up with new quarterback Carson Wentz, where are rumors suggesting that T.Y. Hilton could land?
Green Bay Packers
The rumors linking T.Y. Hilton to the Green Bay Packers make a lot of sense. The Packers are consistently linked with drafting a wide receiver. They have their WR1 in Davante Adams, but their receiving group isn’t particularly overwhelming outside of that. Their current depth chart consists of Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, plus other assorted receivers.
It is a group that could use the addition of a productive pass catcher like T.Y. Hilton.
Unfortunately, the Packers are hardly in a financial position to secure a luxury item like the Colts wide receiver. As per Spotrac, Green Bay has the sixth-least cap space in the NFL. Indeed, it is more probable that the Packers will turn to the NFL Draft to address their wide receiver needs.
With Will Fuller departed to the Miami Dolphins, the Houston Texans are another team with a dire need at wide receiver. Their current lack of NFL Draft capital combined with various roster holes to fit means that adding an impactful pass catcher in free agency may be a priority. With a lack of cap space, they will likely be priced out of landing one of the premium wide receivers like Kenny Golladay or JuJu Smith-Schuster.
As a result of landing with the Texans, T.Y. Hilton would get to face his former team twice a year.
The Detroit Lions are in a prime position to land one of the NFL Draft’s top pass catchers. Though, that shouldn’t stop them from making a play for T.Y. Hilton. The Lions have lost both of their wide receivers in Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. Consequently, their wide receiver room is about as bare as it gets.
Pairing a known commodity like T.Y. Hilton with a first-round receiver could pay dividends for a Lions offense that isn’t too dissimilar to the one Hilton potentially leaves behind in Indianapolis.
Other potential options for T.Y. Hilton
At the time of writing, the Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, and New York Giants were involved in a three-way battle for Kenny Golladay’s services. Two of those teams are ultimately going to be disappointed. However, their upset shouldn’t last too long as they could do a lot worse than swoop in for T.Y. Hilton.
Another potential option is the Miami Dolphins. Prior to signing Will Fuller, rumors were linking the Dolphins to T.Y. Hilton. As they attempt to surround Tua Tagovailoa with the weaponry to succeed in 2021, Hilton would provide a veteran presence in the wide receiver room. Additionally, the Dolphins have the cap space to afford a luxury in free agency.
What is T.Y. Hilton’s market value in free agency?
According to Spotrac, Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton’s market value is $10 million per year. Their market value estimations are devised by taking the average contract value of receivers with similar statistical production. They also factor in age at the time the contract is signed. Some of those comparable players include Randall Cobb, Golden Tate, and Emmanuel Sanders.
His last contract signed with Indianapolis was a five-year, $65 million deal which earned him an average of $13.5 million per year. It’s highly likely Hilton will have to take less than that, whether he signs elsewhere or — as rumors suggest — T.Y. Hilton returns to the Colts.
Want more NFL news and analysis?
Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay up to date with all things around the NFL. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis concerning the 2021 season and beyond.