NFL Free Agency: T.J. Houshmandzadeh Would Be Solid for Indianapolis Colts

Andrew RobesonAnalyst IIAugust 12, 2011

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 05:  T.J. Houshmandzadeh #84 of the Baltimore Ravens runs the ball against Bryant McFadden #20 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of the game at M&T Bank Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. Pittsburgh won 13-10.  (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

According to numerous sources, it looks like the Indianapolis Colts could be talking to, possibly even close to signing, free-agent wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

The fact that the Colts might be interested in Houshmandzadeh could be an indication that it is unclear what role Austin Collie will have in the offense in 2011, despite being cleared to resume football activities.

If that's the case then the Houshmandzadeh signing would be a smart one for the Colts.

Houshmandzadeh would likely come at a steep discount after having an extremely subpar 2010. Last season he only managed 30 receptions for 398 yards and three touchdowns—his worst numbers since his rookie season.

However, one bad season doesn't mean the talent has disappeared. It simply could mean that Houshmandzadeh didn't fit well with the system the Ravens were trying to run. 

From 2005-2009, he caught for at least 900 yards and recorded seven or more touchdowns in three of those years. There is no doubt that Houshmandzadeh was once a great wide receiver, and obviously one bad year should not be enough to turn everyone off. 

In the Colts' system he would be given a chance to thrive while being on the field with other great wideouts. His best years came when he was playing alongside Chad Johnson (yes, he was still Johnson at the time) in Cincinnati. The Colts offense would give him a chance to bring back the magic.

It sure wouldn't hurt Houshmandzadeh to have Peyton Manning throw him the ball.

It's highly unlikely that he will be the 1,000-yard and 10-touchdown threat he once was, but he could be a key addition to the Colts, especially as injury insurance. The Colts aren't entirely reliant on having four talented wide receivers, but the offense they run certainly makes it preferable. 

The way Manning distributes the ball I'm sure he wouldn't mind having another target like Houshmandzadeh on the field.