Deebo Samuel would look awfully good wearing The Horseshoe.
However, is he the long-term solution the Indianapolis Colts need at wide receiver?
It sounds like an enticing possibility for new wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne and co.
Surprisingly, Samuel requested the San Francisco 49ers to trade him during the offseason.
Samuel’s desire to leave the Bay Area coincides with Indy’s glaring hole at wide receiver.
Let’s break down the good and the bad about the Colts acquiring Samuel.
The Good: He Is A Perennial Pro Bowler
The Colts have never had a wide receiver who can rack up a good chunk of yardage on the ground in recent franchise history.
Marvin Harrison wasn’t made in that mold.
Neither was Reggie Wayne – the wideout who lined up on Harrison’s opposite side of the field.
He’s never had a single rushing touchdown in his illustrious ten-year NFL career.
Deebo Samuel to the Jets? pic.twitter.com/RSrQbPly2S
— PFF (@PFF) April 27, 2022
Samuel had eight rushing touchdowns alone in his breakout 2021 NFL campaign.
This man had 2,070 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns last season.
There’s no question Samuel’s versatility bodes well for the Colts’ postseason aspirations in 2022.
However, head coach Frank Reich could use running back and punt return specialist Nyheim Hines as a slot receiver next season.
On the other hand, Samuel has had one breakout season at San Francisco.
Can he continue shredding defenses and eventually prove he isn’t a one-trick pony?
Barring any unforeseen and serious injuries, all indications say he will.
However, bear in mind the Colts still have the injury-prone Parris Campbell on board.
Colts GM general manager Chris Ballard has made it clear he’s not quitting on the hard-luck fourth-year wide receiver.
Rolling the dice on Campbell is risky, to say the least.
However, if he exceeds everybody’s expectations in 2022, the Colts should be set at wide receiver with him and Michael Pittman Jr.
This is, of course, assuming Hilton retires and doesn’t return for an eleventh season in Indy.
Both Hilton and Campbell have been battling nagging injuries the past few years.
If both of them report healthy for training camp in July, forget about Samuel wearing The Horseshoe.
The Bad: He Will Command A High Price Beyond The 2022 NFL Season
Should the Colts somehow land Samuel in 2022, his cap hit of $4.89 million (the final payout of his rookie deal) fits right into their current cap space of $20 million.
However, Samuel should command an annual price within the $25 million to $30 million range in 2023 and beyond.
That should easily make him Indy’s highest-paid player.
— Colts Coverage (@Colts_Coverage) April 20, 2022
In contrast, Hilton’s projected market value in 2022 (assuming he returns to Indy) is roughly $6 million.
Plus, Indy’s highest-paid players are quarterback Matt Ryan ($18.7 million), DeForest Buckner ($16 million), Quenton Nelson ($13.75 million), Yannick Ngakoue ($13 million), Braden Smith ($11.57 million), Darius Leonard ($11.17 million), and Grover Stewart ($10.625 million).
None of them are wide receivers.
Let’s take a hint here: Colts GM Ballard isn’t paying wide receivers top dollar.
That said, it’s highly unlikely we will see Samuel taking at least a $25 million cap hit in Indy from 2023 onward.
Verdict: The Colts Should Not Trade For Deebo Samuel
Sure, the Colts currently have a massive void at wide receiver.
Should Samuel fill it?
For one, he will command a very hefty price after the 2022 NFL season.
Second, Pittman and Campbell are in good hands with new wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne.
If Campbell not only makes it through the season but also exceeds expectations, we could see the emergence of a potent wide receiver combination.
On the other hand, Ballard could also snag a wide receiver in the draft, perhaps a Jalen Tolbert or David Bell.
Either way, the Colts are better off long-term without Samuel.