With the start of the 2018-2019 NFL regular season just a few weeks away, the Colts have a lot of work to do in order to determine which players will form the best lineup come September 9th. One position that the Colts may consider boosting by adding outside is wide receiver. Rookie Deon Cain, whom many were very excited about his ability to contribute in his first season, tore his ACL in the first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Therefore, as of now the Colts likely candidate to start at receiver opposite T.Y. Hilton is free agent addition and former Redskin Ryan Grant. While both young and talented, Grant has only topped 500 receiving yards once and has never scored more than 4 touchdowns in a season. The Colts, who will need their offense to thrive in order to overcome their poor defense, will likely need a second option at receiver who can produce more than Grant ever has.
So, why haven’t the Colts pursued the top free agent receiver Dez Bryant? On the surface, he seems to be a player that they should consider because he still has the ability to be an above-average receiver in the NFL. There are a few reasons why he hasn’t even been brought in for a visit, but not one of them has to do with Bryant’s talent on the football field.
First of all, the Colts can not afford to give another roster spot to a receiver who is often injured. And while Bryant is a generational talent when he is on the field, Bryant has missed a total of nine full games over the past three seasons. And with Hilton, Grant, and Chester Rogers all dealing with injury problems of their own during that span, the Colts really can’t afford to sign another injury-prone receiver.
Secondly, the main goal of general manager Chris Ballard during the past two off-seasons was to transform his roster with players who are both younger and faster than the previous regime. Dez Bryant does not check either of those boxes, as he is now approaching 30 years of age and does not make his money with speed. So while he may have become a great red-zone target for quarterback Andrew Luck, signing him would cause Ballard to stray from his master plan to rebuild.
Lastly, Bryant has had his share of off-the-field issues throughout his collegiate and professional career. New head coach Frank Reich and the front office seem intent on developing their own culture in Indianapolis and adding a player with character and attitude concerns likely will not help this effort. I’m not saying that Dez Bryant has poor character or anything like that. It’s just that if the Colts are going to add a free-agent, he needs to fit the culture and provide a lasting impact on both the franchise and community in Indianapolis.