Reggie Wayne Returns to Colts: Contract Analysis, Grade and Twitter Reaction

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystMarch 14, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 02:  Reggie Wayne #87 of the Indianapolis Colts runs for a touchdown during NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In what has to have been one one the biggest surprises of the first day of free agency, wide receiver Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts has re-upped with the team for three years, according to a tweet from ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Reggie Wayne re-signing a three-year deal with Colts. Agreement reached.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2012

According to the report from Schefter and a report on Rotoworld, the deal is worth a maximum of $17.5 million and comes as a stunner to pundits across the National Football League who assumed that the 33-year-old five-time Pro Bowl wideout would all but certainly follow quarterback Peyton Manning out of Indianapolis, quite possibly to the same location Manning lands in.

That is apparently not the case, and reaction to Wayne's decision spread across the twitterverse like a virtual brush fire.

From NFL.com's Michael Fabiano:

Thoughts on Reggie Wayne - he's past his prime, but who else is Andrew Luck going to throw to next season?

— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) March 14, 2012

From the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Omar Kelly:

Reggie Wayne's deal, which is reportedly worth $17.5 million over 3 years seems on par with what I was told he'd likely land. Fair value.

— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) March 14, 2012

From NFL.com's Albert Breer:

Reggie Wayne agrees to 3-year deal with Colts, per source. Andrew Luck applauds.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 14, 2012

And finally, no list of tweets regarding a member of the Colts would be complete without checking in with team owner Jim Irsay.


— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) March 14, 2012

Breer hit the nail squarely on the head with this one. With tight end Dallas Clark released and wide receiver Pierre Garcon leaving the Colts earlier today to join the Washington Redskins, it was unclear who exactly erstwhile rookie signal-caller Andrew Luck was going to be throwing passes to next season.

However, with Wayne back in the fold, the 12th-year pro may well provide Luck the sort of calming influence that Marvin Harrison afforded Manning in his rookie season in 1998 with the Colts.

It's a bit puzzling not only that Wayne stayed in Indianapolis, but that he agreed to such a reasonable amount of money, given the gaudy contracts handed out to other wideouts such as Garcon Tuesday. Whether it was loyalty to the team, a simple desire not to uproot his life this late in his football career or another reason altogether, there's no other way to view to this signing but as an absolute home run for the Colts.