T.Y. Hilton's team, the only one he's known in his NFL career, has the second-most cap space in the league.
After waiting out the free-agent market, they're spending some of that space to keep Hilton in town. Hilton is returning to the Indianapolis Colts on a one-year, $10 million deal, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, per Hilton's agents, the Katz Bros. He is expected to earn $8 million in guaranteed salary.
Hilton's departure felt possible but not inevitable, largely because the Colts were working with such an excess of cap space unseen with most teams in the current financial landscape. With quarterback already answered by the Carson Wentz trade, the Colts still had a few other areas to address, with receiver being among the highest priorities.
Hilton has made clear he'd like to continue his Colts career, and after a peculiar free-agent market unfolded at the receiver position, he was there for the taking -- even if he never technically left. Hilton's resurgence in 2020 proved this isn't just some honorary signing of a fan favorite, either. After battling through injuries in recent seasons, Hilton was available for all but one game, catching 56 passes for 762 yards and five touchdowns, helping the Colts finish 11-5.
The Colts will fill in a starting receiver spot with a player they know intimately, who has been one of the leading faces of the franchise's successes in the last decade, and who will likely end up in the franchise's ring of honor. After five seasons of 1,000-plus yards, four Pro Bowl selections and four playoff victories, Hilton has earned that accolade. And he'll be back for more in the same uniform he's worn for his entire career.