INDIANAPOLIS — With a new head coach and playcaller in Frank Reich, the Indianapolis Colts’ offense got back on track in 2018.
But heading into the offseason, the team wanted to try to address the wide receiver position, where T.Y. Hilton remains one of the league’s more dangerous playmakers, but could probably stand to do even more damage with another major threat on the opposite side of the field.
Enter Devin Funchess.
The Colts announced today that they have signed the talented — and young — wide receiver, who officially becomes the team’s first outside free agent signing of the 2019 offseason.
Funchess, a huge target at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, actually began his college career at the University of Michigan as a tight end his first two years — he was the Big Ten’s Tight End of the Year in 2013 — before moving over to wide receiver his junior year. After a strong combine performance and pro day that included a 40-yard dash time of 4.47 seconds, Funchess was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
In his four seasons with the Panthers, Funchess averaged just more than 40 receptions for 558 yards and five touchdowns in 61 games, with 40 starts.
His best season came in 2017, when he caught a career-best 63 passes for 840 yards and eight touchdowns.
Funchess also has postseason experience, having logged nine receptions for 152 yards and a touchdown in four playoff games, all starts. He was a member of the Panthers’ 2015 team that advanced to Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos, losing 24-10.
And now, Funchess, who will be just 25 years old by the time Week 1 of the regular season rolls around, will get every opportunity to be that “dog” that Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni were hoping to add at the wide receiver position for the Colts.
“We have other players that did a really good job for us that we can count on in very specific situations and played winning football for us, but obviously when you’ve got two guys that are in the category of a T.Y. Hilton, they can’t just roll the coverage to one guy," Reich told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine a couple weeks back. "Hey, I can put him over there one-on-one and it’s 3rd and 5, and I know we’ve gotta throw a slant route or a stop route, and he’s gotta win a very high percentage of the time."
For his part, Funchess recently told the NFL Network’s Scott Hanson that “there’s still more to come” in his career.
“So all the excitement and all the fun comes in the next contract,” Funchess said in an appearance on NFL Total Access.
Asked which teams should be interested in his services as a free agent, Funchess said, “Whoever wants to go get a Super Bowl right now.”
“We can go do that right now.” Funchess continued. “(We can) have fun with it. We’re gonna laugh, joke and get Ws.”