Colts sitting on by far the NFL’s most cap space

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As the next phase of free agency begins with teams no longer having to think about compensatory picks, one team is far ahead of the rest in salary cap space available.

That team is the Colts, who have $58.7 million in cap space, according to That’s easily the most in the NFL, with the Texans at $41.3 million and no other team having more than $40 million.

Why are the Colts standing pat with so much more money they could spend? It’s not about waiting until today, when any signings no longer affect teams’ compensatory picks, because the Colts aren’t projected to get any compensatory picks next year anyway.

It may simply be that Colts General Manager Chris Ballard thinks he has a good enough team right now that he doesn’t need to spend any more. The Colts were in the playoffs last year, retained almost the entire 2018 roster, and drafted 10 rookies. Ballard said he wasn’t going to overspend, and he meant it.

Teams that don’t spend all their cap space this year can roll cap space into next year, so Ballard may think the Colts are positioned not only to be a good team in 2019, but to spend whatever it takes to address any needs in 2020. And, of course, if something changes, the Colts have the ability to add a player with an expensive contract this year. Ballard has the Colts in good shape, and he didn’t break the bank to do it.

23 responses to “Colts sitting on by far the NFL’s most cap space

  1. The fact that they went as far as they did already, playing well and not seeming like a fluke, means that they shouldn’t just splurge and spend ALL the money. Honestly, they should sign B+ level free agents to supplement their home grown talent and fill out depth. But I guess its obvious that as long as you draft well, you’re gonna do well in the NFL.

  2. They can also guarantee salaries this year to push off more cap savings into next year.

    I still believe there are serious red flags with this team and their offense was just plain bad in the playoffs against a very mediocre KC defense.

  3. He’s just kissing the owners rear end to save him $$$ and his job. I would be upset if I was a Colts fan, Ballard thinks he’s the man and can build this team with 2 ND round picks, they are an Andrew luck injury away from being terrible

  4. Mostly because they drafted so bad for so long they didn’t need to spend on their own. I would resign Luck now. He is going to break the bank, might as well do it now so it won’t be as bad in a couple of years. Let Hilton walk at the end of his deal, I know still productive but reaching 30 and the compensatory pick will be better long term. Let someone else back pay for his production. Don’t spend for the sake of spending but they could be active and put a run together if they could draft better.

  5. It’s not really free. Next year the cap will be around 6% higher, causing money that gets rolled over to be worth that much less.

    But I think that Ballard is trying to build Irsay’s three consecutive superbowl wins team, and he’s going to use this money to do it. (Spoiler alert: He fails).

  6. Lets not lose sight of the fact that the Colts, and in particular Andrew Luck, played horribly against KC in the playoffs. An improved roster doesn’t necessarily mean they compete with the best teams.

  7. that’s great. ballard is gold. but at what point do the chickens come home to roost? ie current colt players wondering why they’re not getting paid more, etc.

  8. A healthy Andrew Luck can make any GM look like a genius (see Ryan Grigson) and become a little over confident in their ‘amazing’ ability.

    Let’s not forget he passed on Frank Reich in favor of Josh McDaniels and just signed Funchess for 13M.

    The true test, is success over an extended period of time. Many coaches have and GM’s have had ‘one-year’ success. Check back in four or five. Not saying he won’t be successful but too many ‘experts’ have suddenlty anoited him as some kind of a GM savant.

  9. If you draft well, you’ll need that cap space in a few years to keep them all.

  10. If my team was sitting on this space and hadn’t put in a serious trade bid for Jadeveon Clowney, I’d be blowing up social media trying to get someone in charge to explain that lack of action to the fans.

  11. I like what the Colts are doing. This guy Ballard is obviously doing a great job. They have a really good, top 10, kind QB so they’re poised to make a run if they can put all the pieces together AND coach it all up right. Very difficult to criticize what they’ve done organizationally over the past couple of years. If not for the Patriots, the Colts likely would have gone to at least two more Super Bowls in the Manning era. Maybe now they’ll get another run at it.

  12. The Colts have risen back to respectability. Looking at something like 9-7 this year, which is pretty good.

  13. Its because Ballard only signs free agents on 2 year deals at reasonable cap figures….
    Hes saving up to pay Kelly, Nelson, hooler wtc

  14. By far the smartest GM in the NFL! He gets it. Great judge of talent. Has the Colts skyrocketing to the top and they are positioned to be very good for many years. Colts fans rejoice! I live in Phx. and am a Cardinal fan. I know what a good GM looks like because we have one of the worst. 7 failed drafts in a row. Lost a very good coach and hired someone with no NFL experience and was fired in college because he couldn’t win. Would love to have Ballard in Az. or someone that gets it also. Congrats Colts fans! Exciting times ahead!

  15. ilovetalkingsports says:
    May 8, 2019 at 12:57 pm
    He’s just kissing the owners rear end to save him $$$ and his job.
    I honestly believe that you take your screen name to heart.
    To bad you’re not any good at it.

  16. welcometothefold95 says:
    May 8, 2019 at 1:51 pm
    that’s great. ballard is gold. but at what point do the chickens come home to roost? ie current colt players wondering why they’re not getting paid more, etc.

    Having the ability to pay your own when contracts come up is one of the reasons to not blow through all your cash.

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