Even though the Indianapolis Colts signed possible future Hall of Famer Andre Johnson and drafted Philip Dorsett in the first round, they’re committed to T.Y. Hilton as their top wide receiver, and they showed it on Thursday by signing the wideout to a five-year contract extension worth a reported $65 million, with the infinitely-more-important guaranteed money coming in at $39 million.
When the Colts and GM Ryan Grigson grabbed Dorsett out of Miami, many thought it was a signal that Hilton might be on his way out of town. After all, Dorsett is 5-foot-9 like Hilton, so his best-case projection is to essentially be a clone of Hilton, and second-year player Donte Moncrief showed a lot of promise his rookie season. The Colts have a lot of talent at wideout, but they’re now paying Hilton enough to leave no doubt about who’s their No. one guy.
In terms of the total amount on his contract, Hilton will be the fourth-highest paid wideout in the NFL this year, behind only Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant, and just ahead of Mike Wallace. But players rarely see the full amount of their contracts, either because their team cuts them or because they renegotiate later in the deal (to defend against being cut). So the guaranteed money is a truer barometer of how a team values its player, and in that arena, Hilton comes out looking even better: His $39 million guarantee is second only to Megatron. (Salary figures thanks to Over The Cap.)
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of Indiana who claims Hilton is a better wideout than Thomas and Bryant, who signed their extensions earlier this offseason, but his production speaks for itself: 82 catches and at least 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons. That’ll play, and now it’ll pay for Hilton, who said of the deal, “This is a dream come true.”