Anyone at all, really. With Pierre Garcon headed off to Washington earlier today, the Colts were faced with a choice: either allow their rebuild to turn into a seismic destruction, or retain someone of value to help during Andrew Luck’s development.
They quite wisely chose option No. 2, and re-signed Wayne to a three-year contract worth $17.5 million, according to the Indianapolis Star. It’s a move that makes a lot of sense both logically and financially, a truly rare feat during the opening hours of free agency that have already seen the annual frivolous Dan Snyder spending.
At 33 years old, time is Wayne’s enemy, and he’s only a year or so away from flirting with that reinforced wide receiver wall that claimed Terrell Owens’ career, and may or may not have done the same to Randy Moss (we’ll find out next fall). But the Colts effectively managed that age risk by committing to Wayne with a very lean contract worth only $5.8 million annually.
That’s a fine price for a receiver with Wayne’s talent, regardless of his age. Any wideout who can flirt with 1,000 yards while receiving passes from Curtis Painter and/or Dan Orlovsky (Wayne had 960 yards) is doing something right. With Garcon gone in addition to tight end Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai in the backfield after cuts last week, a recognizable face with experience needed to remain on the roster.
Fans understand the concept of rebuilding, and losing a few battles in the short term to win many more wars down the road. But even during losses fans want hope, just like the hope Cam Newton gave Carolina despite losing 10 games in 2011.
Hope would have been a scarce sight in Indy had Wayne joined the departures, leaving Luck with Austin Collie and…Austin Collie.