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Not Re-Signing WR T.Y. Hilton Could be the Offseason Move Colts Live to Regret

The Colts could be missing the boat on this one in a big, bad way.

Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard isn't one to go reeling head-first into the free-agent pool each year. He takes a measured approach, letting the dust settle on the manic first wave of free agency before traditionally making any big moves. 

But even for Ballard, he's been a slow-poke of sorts this offseason. Colts fans have watched as tier-one, tier-two, and even tier-three free agents have gone off the board, at positions of need for Indy, while the team has stood pat. 

One of the head-scratchers has been Ballard's unmoving handling of the Colts' in-house free agents. It took some time but Indy did finally re-sign cornerback Xavier Rhodes and running back Marlon Mack

But one homegrown stud still blowing in the wind is four-time Pro Bowl wideout T.Y. Hilton, who has languished on the free-agent market thus far. Entering his age-32 season, perhaps it's the smart play to let the market settle and see if Hilton will come back home with his tail between his legs. 

However, Bleacher Report's Chris Roling sees the Hilton situation as a decision Ballard and the Colts could live to regret. 

The Indianapolis Colts nearly hit the second week of free agency without re-signing key names.

One of those was wideout T.Y. Hilton, a 2012 third-round pick who turned out to be a star. He has 9,360 yards and 50 scores on a 15.4 per-catch average over 133 appearances.

Last year, Hilton grabbed 56 catches for 762 yards and five scores in 15 games, averaging 13.6 yards per catch. It would seem the Colts need that production as they try to revive Carson Wentz's career, and cap space hasn't been an issue in Indianapolis in years.

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Maybe both parties want to see how the market continues to develop, but needing to replace Hilton wouldn't be ideal.

Indeed, a quick perusal of the Colts' wide receiver depth chart leaves one wondering what exactly Ballard is thinking. Sure, Zach Pascal had a solid if unspectacular campaign catching passes from Philip Rivers — a proven, accomplished quarterback well-versed on how to distribute the football. 

2020 second-round pick Michael Pittman, Jr. has some untapped upside but after totaling 500 receiving yards and a score as a rookie, he still dwells well on the side of unproven. Juxtapose this with the quarterback transplant Carson Wentz, whom the Colts will certainly want to arm with some weapons if Frank Reich is going to resurrect the former first-rounder's career. 

Getting Hilton back in the fold might not result in a miracle but it would certainly help ease Wentz into life as a Colt and serve as a nice bridge for another highly-drafted wideout this coming April, or even as a veteran hedge to keep the seat warm while the likes of Pascal and Pittman continue to develop. 

Hilton is coming off two relative 'down' years in Indy but he's the only wideout the Colts have had of late that in any way makes opposing defensive coordinators stay up an extra hour or two on Saturday nights to figure out how to stop him from beating them on gameday. Pittman might one day terrorize opposing coaches but for now, he's still in-chrysalis. 

At this stage, it's hard to argue with Roling's logic. If Ballard waits too long and Hilton signs elsewhere, the Colts are indeed likely to live to regret the decision. 

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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