Bengals good fit for free agent wide receiver T.Y. Hilton
Update: T.Y. Hilton was re-signed by the Colts shortly after this was posted.
After missing out on former Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay who signed with the New York Giants former Indianapolis Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton would be a perfect fit for the Bengals. With Tyler Boyd in the slot and Tee Higgins on the outside, adding another deep threat would help the Cincinnati offense.
Hilton is entering his 10th season and has earned Pro Bowl trips from 2014–2017 was named to the Pro Football Writer Association All-Rookie Team in 2012 and led the NFL with 1,448 receiving yards in 2016. Hilton finished with over 1,000 receiving yards from 2013-2016 and 2018. Hilton has 50 career touchdown receptions.
Hilton will be 31 years old at the beginning of the 2021 season. In 2020, Hilton finished with 56 receptions for 762 yards and five TDs. After a slow start last season, Hilton had 27 receptions for 435 yards and all five TDs in the final six games of 2021. Cincinnati could also consider drafting a WR with the fifth pick in 2021.
Hilton would be a good short-term addition to the Bengals at WR. Joe Burrow needs another threat in the passing game to complement Boyd and Higgins. Hilton averaged 13.6 yards per reception in 2020 and has a 15.4 YPC average for his career. Pro Football Focus discussed the Bengals deep passing game.
"“Bengals quarterbacks combined to complete a league-low 15 passes targeted 20 or more yards downfield during the regular season on 73 attempts. That 20.5% completion rate was nearly eight percentage points lower than any other offense in the league.Arm strength isn’t Joe Burrow’s greatest weapon, but he did have considerable success going downfield in his final season at LSU.In fact, Burrow won the “best deep ball” superlative in the 2020 PFF Draft Guide following a year in which he completed 57% of his passes 20 or more yards downfield, 26 of which went for touchdowns.One obvious way to try to improve Burrow’s downfield success in 2021 is to add wide receivers who can consistently create separation deep”"
The Bengals could sign Hilton to a two or three-year contract, draft a WR with the fifth pick and still add a desperately needed offensive tackle at the top of the second round. Cincinnati was 26th in completed passing air yards with 2,005 in 2020. If Burrow is healthy for the entire season that should improve.
Boyd, Higgins, Hilton and potentially Ja’Marr Chase through the draft could provide the Bengals with elite WR corps for the future. It has been well noted that Chase was the top receiver for the Bayou Bengals with 1,780 yards and 20 TDs during their 2019 National Championship season. Burrow should attract free agents.