Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, due in part to injury and lackluster quarterback play, had a down season in 2019 (45 receptions for 501 yards and five touchdowns in 10 games). With Philip Rivers in the fold this year, there was ample reason for optimism.
Hilton missed Week 9 against the Baltimore Ravens with a groin injury. But he has played in the other 10 game, with snap shares over 50 percent in all but the game he was initially injured in.
Prior to Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, Hilton topped 50 yards in a game three times this season and he had not scored. Last Sunday, he had four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. Two of the Colts next three games against the Houston Texans, a team he has done quite well against his career. So maybe Hilton can end the season on a high note.
Hilton is also going to be a free agent this offseason. So a strong finish to the season would surely be helpful to his next contract.
Here are four ideal landing spots for Hilton in 2021 NFL free agency.
4. New England Patriots
The Patriots lack talent at wide receiver, plain and simple. They seem sure to draft someone early at the position in April, But they will have cap space to add a veteran or two as well, and overhaul the depth chart if they wish to.
New England have had multiple short-lived experiments with older wide receivers who were more name than game toward the end of their careers. Hilton is edging toward being of that ilk, but a cheap one or two-year flier on him would be reasonable.
3. Indianapolis Colts
A little over a month ago, the Indianapolis Star did a breakdown of the production Hilton had lost to penalties, etc. this season. Without getting losing you in the abyss of fine detail, the perception of his season would be different.
The Colts can bring back Hilton without breaking the bank, not that cap space is an issue ($75.966 million projected right now, according to Over The Cap). As a veteran presence in the room for guys like Michael Pittman, the Colts could look to retain Hilton for a couple more years if it all possible.
2. New York Jets
As the Jets move toward breaking in a rookie quarterback in 2021 (Trevor Lawrence?), Hilton has experience in such a situation. In 2012, when he was also a rookie, the Colts had a rookie signal caller named Andrew Luck.
The Jets will have ample cap space to accelerate their rebuild next offseason. Getting rid of Adam Gase as head coach will only be helpful in getting players to come aboard.
Hilton will probably prioritize teams with a realistic chance to win next year when he hits the open market. That would seem to rule out the Jets right away. But money does talk, and Hilton might have a hard time turning down an aggressive offer from any team.
1. Green Bay Packers
Davante Adams is one of the best wide receivers in the league, and Allen Lazard seems to be cementing a place in the plan. But beyond them, there are question marks in Green Bay’s wide receiver corp.
While the now 37-year old Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback, the Packers are in a win-now window. Their draft plans may continue to be with the future in mind (to put it nicely), but free agency is different if there are viable options who can fill holes.
Hilton and Luck were a productive duo for years. In Green Bay, maybe Rodgers can foster a resurgence for the 31-year old wideout.
Other possible landing spots for T.Y. Hilton in 2021 NFL Free Agency: Washington Football Team, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans