Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman is scheduled to hit free agency at the end of the season.
The former second-round pick is on pace for a career year in 2023 with rookie Anthony Richardson and Gardner Minshew throwing him the ball.
ESPN+ produced a list of the Top 25 NFL Free Agents in 2024. Pittman made the list, but he was all the way down at No. 23.
"With his physical frame and high-end ball skills, Pittman can play on the boundary or create vertical matchups from slot alignments," wrote Matt Bowen on ESPN+. "He has the vision to produce on catch-and-run concepts, with 45.3% of his 677 receiving yards coming after the catch this season. Pittman has caught 66 passes through Week 10 and is set to top 120 targets for a third straight season."
Jeremy Fowler countered with why Pittman may have fallen on the list, and it has nothing to do with his ability but his availability.
"The Colts have paid many of their productive draft picks in the Chris Ballard era, so I'm expecting Indy to try to keep its top receiver," wrote Fowler.
It's hard to judge value against different positions, but seeing Pittman below Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley at No. 21 is a head scratcher to say the least.
One might argue that Ridley missed all but five games of the 2021 season after he walked out on the Falcons for mental-health reasons and was suspended for gambling in 2022.
One might also argue that's part of the argument against Ridley.
Pittman posted those numbers with a variety of quarterbacks including Richardson, Minshew, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger, and Nick Foles. Ridley had Ryan and 2022 Pro Bowl selection Trevor Lawrence.
Pittman (26) is just under three-years younger than Ridley. Ridley is still playing on his rookie contract; he turns 29 in December.
If I'm a general manager, I know who I'd rather throw an eight-figure per-year deal at in free agency.
The Colts don't mind if Pittman is overlooked. Frankly, they hope he is. They don't want to enter a bidding war for Pittman in the offseason, and if Fowler is right, they'll get him tied up before that happens.