The Indianapolis Colts have been rumored to be in the market for a tight end since the beginning of the offseason.
The organization decided to part ways with tight end Eric Ebron, which left a big hole to fill on offense.
Luckily, the Colts did not have to wait until draft day in order to fix their tight end problem.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Colts have agreed to a one-year deal with veteran tight end Trey Burton.
Free agent TE Trey Burton has agreed to terms with the #Colts, per @EnterSportsMgmt. Back together with coach Frank Reich. He gets a 1-year deal worth the minimum… but he gets a total of $4M that’s already guaranteed from the #Bears.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 22, 2020
This is a big move by the organization to get some experienced veteran talent on this offense.
Who is Trey Burton?
The 28-year-old tight end was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014.
He didn’t see many opportunities on offense through his first two seasons in the league.
The 2016 season was the first year that Burton actually saw reliable playing time at tight end.
He finished with 37 receptions, 327 receiving yards, and one touchdown through 15 games (four starts) that season.
Burton saw significantly less targets in 2017, but finished the year with five touchdowns.
He signed a four-year deal with the Chicago Bears in 2018, but things didn’t go according to plan for Burton.
His first season with Chicago was a success, but it went downhill after that.
Burton hauled in 54 receptions, 569 yards, and six touchdowns during 16 games with the Bears in 2018.
He was limited to just eight games for the Bears in 2019 and was placed on injured reserve due to multiple injuries.
Burton was cut by the Bears following the 2019 season, but has found his new home in Indy.
Why Did the Colts Make This Move?
The Colts needed to replace Ebron and Burton does make sense for this organization.
Colts head coach Frank Reich was the offensive coordinator when Burton was with the Eagles.
Indy is in desperate need of a big-bodied option that can be a red zone threat for this offense.
Burton does not have great career numbers, but has been reliable when he is given significant playing time.
This signing gives the Colts solid depth at tight end and someone to place alongside Pro Bowler Jack Doyle.
The Colts were rumored to be interested in drafting a tight end to place next to Doyle, but may have already solved their problem.
The injury history is a concern, but the Colts were smart to only commit to a one year deal.
Signing Burton gives the Colts a more vertical threat than Jack Doyle at tight end. They still probably need to address tight end in the draft though.
— Horseshoe Heroes (@HorseshoeHeroes) April 22, 2020
Should the Colts Still Draft A Tight End?
Bringing in Burton likely means the Colts are not going to target a tight end early in the upcoming NFL Draft.
The tight end class appears to be fairly weak this year, so this signing was smart.
The organization gets a short-term solution at tight end, but didn’t spend more than the league minimum on Burton.
This gives the Colts a chance to address other areas during the draft.
Indy can feel confident at tight end for a season and seek potential long-term options next season.
This is a low-risk move by Indy and it doesn’t have much downside since they aren’t paying Burton big money.
Hopefully, Burton will be able to stay on the field and contribute for Indy in 2020.