The Indianapolis Colts lack depth at the wide receiver position heading into the upcoming season. Is another go-around with a veteran wide receiver a possibility for a team that has had no luck with such in the recent past?
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows what his team has at the first three wide receiver spots on the depth chart. The remaining slots, however, remain a mystery.
With T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett as the Colts’ first three receivers on the depth chart respectively — and not much else from there — and General Manager Ryan Grigson may have to do a little bit of searching before the start of the regular season.
Former New England Patriots receivers Josh Boyce and Brian Tyms were previously the Colts’ remaining receivers on the depth chart — they have both been recently released, however.
Earlier in the week, Pagano made it clear that he wants to see what the team currently has with their young receivers on the roster, but didn’t rule out the possibility of some outside help, i.e. a possible free agent signing.
“We have some young guys that we want to focus on a little bit,” Pagano said. “And there’s some guys out there that we’re looking at as well.”
This may not sit well with Colts fans, as Grigson and Pagano have brought in a veteran receiver the last three seasons — with none of the signings panning out the way that was envisioned. Some of Grigson’s most-notable free agent flops have been wide receivers, and include as follows:
The Colts signed Heyward-Bey heading into the 2013 season — one year after he had accumulated over 600 yards receiving and five touchdowns with the Oakland Raiders. Heyward-Bey was known for his speed, but not his catching ability, which showed mightily during his stint with the Colts. He would appear in all 16 games with the Colts, but finished the year with just 309 yards with one touchdown — being demoted all the way to just special teams snaps by the season’s end before eventually being released by the team prior to the 2013 year.
After releasing Heyward-Bey prior to the 2014 season, the Colts would now be short a quality receiver on the depth chart. This led to the signing of former New York Giant Hakeem Nicks. Nicks was remembered for his career-year in 2011 in which he tallied 1,192 receiving yards and seven touchdowns as he helped the Giants win Super Bowl 46. However, things never went as planned as Nicks just couldn’t find a comfortable role on the Colts in 2014. The Colts never made an attempt to re-sign him after his one-year contract was up prior to 2014.
The most-prolific signing at the time of the Ryan Grigson era in Indianapolis, the signing of Andre Johnson was originally viewed as a signing that would put the Colts over the top — making them easy favorites to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50. Johnson had spent his entire career with the division rival Houston Texans before seeing his role with the team decrease due to the rise of DeAndre Hopkins. Expectations for Johnson were high in 2015 with quarterback Andrew Luck under center, but like the other free agent signings, this one proved too good to be true as well. Johnson had the worst year of his tenured career — totaling 503 receiving yards and four touchdowns. The Colts cut Johnson this past offseason with two years still remaining on his contract.
Given the failure of quality signings mentioned above, one would say at first glance that Grigson and the Colts would be wise to not attempt to bring in another veteran receiver.
However, the team is very thin at the position. If any of their first three receivers were to go down to injury, the Colts would find themselves in trouble.
With some notable free agent receivers still on the market, the Colts may not have any other choice but to look at a select few of them and see what they have working for them. Desperate times call for desperate measures, after all.
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