After the news broke this morning about T.Y. and the Colts reaching a contract extension you could hear and feel all of Colts Nation breath a sigh of relief. Hilton and the Colts reached an agreement at the tune of 5 years/65million dollars. That’s just over $11 million a year over 6 years (with 1 year left on his rookie deal). The biggest surprise was how much of the contract was guaranteed: $36 million. That is almost double the money that Luck was guaranteed on his rookie deal and makes T.Y. 4th on the list of wide receivers in terms of guaranteed money (as well as 4th in money per season).
Hilton had made it known earlier this summer that he wanted a new contract. After the mega deals signed by Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas, Hilton wanted to join the club of high priced receivers and he felt he belonged there. The question was though, “Does Hilton belong in that ‘elite’ group yet?” Many felt that he had put up the numbers to be at least considered top 10, but was not quite a top 5 receiver. Thomas and Bryant signed contract that will bring them around 14 million per year. They were also contract where the guaranteed money was about 43-44 million.
So if you look at guaranteed money it would be safe to say that the Colts feel he is right up there with the big boys. If you look at how much the contract is worth over the five years you would think that the team thinks highly of him, but that he isn’t elite yet. Hilton’s new contract lands him in the same ballpark as Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers. Cobb is great receiver who is loved and thought to be very consistent but still not considered a top five receiver. I look at it in a different way.
I, like many others, see Hilton as a hot commodity. He is as consistent as we have seen here in Indy when it comes to clutch-time. He has put in the time and really taken the leaps with Andrew Luck over their first three years. Hilton is worth the contract that he signed today and maybe a little more, but I won’t put him in the elite status either. I’m glad Hilton is going to be in Indy for the next six seasons. I feel better knowing that they have locked-in their best wide receiver.
The Colts knew that re-signing Hilton was a top priority. They did not want to go into the season or wait until after the season where the price tag could have been much more. On Hilton’s side of the table he wanted to get it done before the season as well. He didn’t want the distraction of talking about this during the season and, God forbid, he got hurt this season and not be worth nearly what he signed for today. The other thing that is on my mind, and I’m sure other people’s as well, is the big “what if” question.
What if Hilton has a bad season or slide a bit knowing that he just got paid? It’s not out of the question. I have seen many professional athletes get that big contract and fall off the radar. That is a fear I have whenever the Colts sign a premier player to a big contract. I’m not saying that’s what is going to happen, but I’m saying it’s a fear I will carry through most of the season.
I want to offer T.Y. Hilton (aka “The Ghost”) a sincere congratulations on his first major NFL contract. He has been a beacon of light here in Indy since his arrival. I’m hoping he can remain that for this other young receivers for years to come. I would love nothing more than to see T.Y. become the next Reggie or Marvin and take these young guys under his wing and help them learn the ways. Congrats T.Y., you have earned it.