Trivia question: Over the past 5 seasons, how many regular season games has Marques Colston missed due to injury?
The answer: 18, more than a full season’s worth.
Just kidding. The real answer is 9, only half of the number I said. But while you might have been a little surprised with 18, you believed it, didn’t you? That’s my point about the Saints’ all time leading receiver, whom New Orleans officially released yesterday. Colston and his durability has gotten a horrible rap in recent years, and his stock is lower than it deserves to be.
Don’t get me wrong, Marques Colston has slipped in recent years. After putting up 1000 yards in 6 of his first 7 seasons, he has had 943, 902, and 520 in the past 3 campaigns. That’s a significant dropoff, but I’m not willing to say that he’s over the hill yet. He’ll turn 33 in June, and while 33 is old for an NFL player, it’s not too old for a wide receiver to be productive.
Part of Colston’s decline has juxtaposed the Saints’ and Drew Brees’ decline at the same time, as neither the Saints organization nor Brees are anything close to what they were a half decade ago. It seems to me that Colston’s waning stock among football fans and analysts has a lot to do with the Saints’ recession, as fans and media always overrate players on winning teams and underrate players on losing teams.
Looking ahead, what would be the best way for Marques Colston to boost his stock going forward? Well, if Colston has no faith left in his own abilities, then he should sign with whichever team gives him the most guaranteed money. I wouldn’t blame him one bit for doing so, especially since he signed a relatively light contract of 5 years $40 million in 2012 when he was a true number 1 receiver.
If Colston thinks that he still has a few quality years left in the tank, however, he would be smart to sign on with a team who gets a ton of media attention, work his butt off to play as many games as possible to undo his label of not being durable, and parlay a good season into a real payday next year.
The Patriots would be the best possible situation for Colston if he chooses the latter option for a variety of reasons. First, the Patriots get a ton of media attention, and his name will be said somewhere between 234995 and 2345836457854751234543543 times on ESPN and NFL Network over the next 6 months if he signs in New England. Second, he’ll play with Tom Brady, and rumor has it that receivers tend to look pretty good when they play with Tom Brady. Third, Sean Payton is probably the closest thing to Bill Belichick among the other coaches in the NFL, although I just disgusted myself by comparing a mortal human being to The Hooded One. And oh yeah, fourth, Colston could win a Super Bowl.
I’m not saying that Marques Colston is an idiot if he doesn’t sign with the Patriots. An athlete has every right to do what he wants with his living, and if Colston doesn’t want to sign in Foxboro, he doesn’t have to. Maybe there’s a system or a quarterback that he feels more comfortable with, maybe he wouldn’t want the media attention that would come with playing for the team that everyone hates, and maybe he simply wants to maximize his financial earnings. But if his priorities are to boost his stock as much as possible in order to strike gold in March of 2017, then I don’t see a situation that makes more sense than New England for a year.