Tom Brady’s status as an NFL legend led to a bunch of stars finding their way to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2020 season. This all led to Tampa Bay winning the Super Bowl. So, could that continue to happen this offseason? There’s a chance, as a recent report suggests that Brady and the Buccaneers could potentially add one of the most underrated wide receivers of all-time in 2021 — Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton.
T.Y. Hilton has had an underrated career with the Indianapolis Colts
People don’t talk about him too much because he’s relatively quiet and just goes about his business, but T.Y. Hilton has been one of the best receivers in the NFL throughout his entire career.
The Colts drafted him in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, and he had success immediately. Hilton — who was in the same draft class as former Colts quarterback Andrew Luck — had 50 catches for 861 yards and seven touchdowns in his rookie season. He then went on a dominant run from 2013 through 2016, as Hilton gained over 1,000 receiving yards in each of those seasons. Additionally, in 2016, Hilton led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,448.
Hilton then recorded over 1,000 receiving yards again in 2018, as 2017 was the only season from 2013 through 2018 that he didn’t reach the mark. His numbers were only down that year due to Andrew Luck missing the entire season due to injury, too.
Since that 2017 season, though, T.Y. Hilton has dealt with some adversity on the Colts. Indianapolis has seen their starting QB switch each year since then, as Andrew Luck’s retirement completely changed the franchise’s plans at that position. Hilton also battled injuries in 2019.
During the 2020 season with Philip Rivers, Hilton only caught 56 passes for 762 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games. However, he and Rivers didn’t really develop a connection until midway through the season. He gained 511 of those wards from Week 10 through Week 17.
For his career, T.Y. Hilton has 608 catches for 9,360 receiving yards and 50 TDs. The 2020 season, though, was the final year on his contract with the Colts.
T.Y. Hilton could join Tom Brady on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The furthest T.Y. Hilton has gone in the playoffs is the AFC Championship Game in 2014. So, could he go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and try to win a Super Bowl with Tom Brady? His former teammate, Pat McAfee, thinks so.
“T.Y. Hilton’s going to go somewhere and be very good,” McAfee said on the Feb. 25 episode of The Pat McAfee Show. “Look for him to probably go to Tampa to be honest with you. Look for T.Y. to probably go to Tampa.”
McAfee then brought up how Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was the Colts’ offensive coordinator during Hilton’s rookie season.
“I think Bruce Arians was the reason we drafted T.Y. Hilton,” McAfee said. “… I was not in the war room … the story goes that right before our pick, somebody selected who we were going to lock-in. Then as the clock was going, we were thinking about trading or moving, and Bruce Arians said, ‘There’s this wide receiver down in Florida. He is a guy.’ [They] draft him, that’s all she wrote.”
So, could that really happen? Could Tom Brady and T.Y. Hilton really team up on the Buccaneers?
Could Tom Brady really have a new wide receiver on the Buccaneers?
One of Tom Brady’s top receivers in 2020 was Chris Godwin, and he is a free agent this offseason. It appears that the Buccaneers plan to find a way to bring him back, although it could be difficult money-wise because he deserves to get paid, and Tampa has limited cap space. Antonio Brown is also a free agent and was productive in the games he played in with Tom Brady on the Buccaneers last season. It’s unclear whether they intend to bring him back or not, though.
For Hilton, Colts coach Frank Reich said, “I think we’re all hopeful and optimistic that T.Y. can end his career as a Colt,” per The Athletic’s Zak Keefer. Hilton has also expressed his desire to finish his career in Indy in the past.
If the Colts and Hilton can’t come to an agreement, though, why wouldn’t he try and chase a Super Bowl with Tom Brady on the Buccaneers? He’d not only have a chance to win a championship but would also have the attention off of him offensively by playing with Mike Evans. It could be an ideal situation for him.
T.Y. Hilton’s future is unclear. There’s a chance, though, that Tom Brady could soon be playing with one of the most underrated receivers of all-time.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference