INDIANAPOLIS -- Three seasons. Three veteran receivers. And all three failed to last more than a season with the Indianapolis Colts.
Veteran Andre Johnson became the latest receiver to sign with the Colts, not live up to expectations and last only a season when he was told Friday that he would be released by the team, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported.
The Colts will save $5 million in salary-cap space by releasing Johnson. That money can go toward free agents or quarterback Andrew Luck's contract extension, which the Colts hope to complete at some point this offseason.
Johnson in 2015 followed the same path as Darrius Heyward-Bey and Hakeem Nicks in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
It's time for the Colts to rethink their process in signing free-agent receivers because their current approach isn't working.
Heyward-Bey's best moments with the Colts were when he showed off his speed by pinning punts deep in the opponent's end of the field after being demoted to special teams late in the 2013 season. Nicks was passed by then-rookie Donte Moncrief on the depth chart last season.
Things were supposed to be different with Johnson. He was supposed to arrive in Indianapolis with a nasty attitude after the Houston Texans told him he was no longer good enough to start for them.
The Colts didn't need Johnson to be the same seven-time Pro Bowler that he was with the Texans, but rather a possession receiver opposite T.Y. Hilton whom their quarterbacks could turn to because they already had speed on the outside with Hilton, Phillip Dorsett and Moncrief.
It looked as if that would be the case when Johnson showed off his size and strength to haul in a third-down pass while being tightly covered for a first down in the Colts' preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
But then Johnson made Texans coach Bill O'Brien look smarter and smarter after each week. Johnson's 41 receptions and 503 yards receiving last season were a career low for him when playing in all 16 games.
Remember the idea of being a go-to receiver on third down for the Colts? Johnson was fourth on the roster in that category with eight receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown on third down.
What the Colts have going for them this offseason is that they don't have to sign a veteran to be their second or third receiver. They're set with Hilton, Moncrief and Dorsett as their top three. They just need to round out the rest of their receiving group with young, talented players -- not ones who are past their prime.