As it's starting to look more and more as if Peyton Manning will not be back with the Indianapolis Colts, attention is now turning to some of the team's other offensive stalwarts. The biggest of those players is wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who prior to a disappointing 2011, had racked up at least 1,000 receiving yards, 77 catches and six touchdowns in seven consecutive seasons.
Despite those obvious talents, and still just 33 years old, Indianapolis Star Colts beat writer Mike Chappell is less than convinced that Wayne will return in 2012. Here's what he said during a Q&A on IndyStar.com:
I would put the odds of Reggie returning at less than 50-50. ... I don’t believe Reggie wants to break the bank on what will be his final contract, but he’s not going to give a huge discount. I remember asking him about that near the end of the season, whether he might give the Colts a "blue-light special." He said, ‘I don’t shop at Kmart.'"
Chappell suggested that even if the Colts were to draft Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Wayne's return is still not assured. As nice as it would be for a rookie quarterback to have a sure-handed veteran like Wayne to throw to, it's hard to imagine that Wayne will be playing at a high enough level to justify a hefty contract for more than a few years. More likely, a team focused on winning now would be a likely destination.
Chappell also suggested that the re-signing of Robert Mathis and Pierre Garcon will take precedence over re-signing Wayne. Mathis (30) and Garcon (25) are both considerably younger and likely to be contributing players for longer.
For more on the Colts offseason, check out Stampede Blue.