T.Y. Hilton Says Colts Contract Extension Talks on Hold Amid Pandemic

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 22: T.Y. Hilton #13 of the Indianapolis Colts waves to the crowd before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton said Wednesday talks with the team about an extension are on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hilton, who's set to enter the final season of a five-year, $65 million contract, said there were exploratory discussions before COVID-19, per Stephen Holder of The Athletic. He's hopeful they eventually resume negotiations on a new deal, which he thinks will be his last in the NFL.

"I want to be a Colt for life, but it takes two sides. It's up to Mr. Irsay and Chris [Ballard]," Hilton said during a Zoom session.

The 30-year-old Miami native has spent his entire career with the Colts, who selected him in the third round of the 2012 draft. He's earned four Pro Bowl selections across eight seasons.

Hilton is coming off the worst statistical year in the NFL, though. He recorded just 45 receptions for 501 yards and five touchdowns across 10 appearances while hampered by a calf injury. The typically dynamic downfield threat posted a career-low 11.1 yards per catch. It was 16.7 YPC in 2018.

The FIU product lamented how teams were able to stifle the Colts' offense while he was sidelined by the calf injury.

"It's very difficult because I know I can help this team," he told reporters in December. "Me not being out there, teams are starting to play different ways. They're starting to blitz more, they're starting to play a lot of man coverage. We've just got to win our one-on-one matchups and that will loosen up the run game."

Hilton returned in mid-December but made just 10 catches over the last three games as the Colts failed to make a surge into the playoffs, finishing with a 7-9 record.

The pandemic has closed all NFL team facilities since late March and Indianapolis likely wants to make sure the receiver gets a clean bill of health before committing to another lucrative contract.

Hilton's track record is strong, though. He topped 1,000 receiving yards in five of the past six seasons and the only year he fell short (2017) he tallied 966 yards.

If healthy, he'll once again serve as the Colts' unquestioned top receiver in 2020.