The Dallas Cowboys added some veteran leadership Tuesday with a move that caught the NFL media off guard.
The Cowboys signed free agent WR T.Y. Hilton to a one-year deal worth up to $1.5 million with incentives. He last played for the Indianapolis Colts in 2021, but underwent a neck surgery before Week 1 that limited him to just nine games.
Hilton is a Colts legend. The 33-year-old played his entire 10-year career in Indianapolis before signing with Dallas. Hilton ranks third in receiving yards and fourth in receiving touchdowns in Colts history. He is also a four-time Pro Bowler.
How does T.Y. Hilton fit in the Cowboys offense?
In his prime, Hilton was one of the more underrated receivers in the NFL. His best skill is his speed and ability to stretch the field with deep passes. At 5’10, 183 pounds, T.Y. can fly.
But it’s important for Cowboys fans to temper their expectations for Hilton considering he’s at the backend of his career. The former FIU Panther has also dealt with numerous injuries in recent years. The last time he played a full season was 2017.
But Kellen Moore and Jerry Jones confirmed to the media that Hilton still has his blazing speed despite his age and injury history.
His durability shouldn’t be an issue because Hilton is still slotted behind CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Noah Brown on the Cowboys depth chart.
All things considered, this is a great deal for the Cowboys. Hilton’s base salary is only $800,000, then he’s a free agent again at season’s end. So combining Dallas’ lack of commitment to Hilton for the long-term, plus the potential big play threat he can still pose makes for a low-risk, high-reward situation for the Cowboys.
What does this mean for OBJ and James Washington?
You would think that signing Hilton officially takes the Cowboys out of the running for Odell Beckham Jr. But according to Jones, that’s not the case.
Jones appeared on 105.3 The Fan this morning and said the team will continue monitoring OBJ’s health and availability. Jones didn’t rule out singing the WR for a playoff run, saying:
“He’s a WR I think would fit any team. There’s gonna be continued interest in Odell.”
The Hilton singing will likely take away from James Washington’s playing time. Washington suffered a foot injury in training camp and made his Cowboys debut vs. the Houston Texans. He was on the field for 15 snaps and was targeted just once, which went for an incompletion.
That’s not to say we won’t see Washington again. Like Hilton, Washington has also built a reputation as a downfield pass catcher, something the Cowboys offense has lacked.
Hilton will be added to the rotation of Washington and Brown, as they ultimately serve as complimentary pieces to Lamb and Gallup.