Chris Ballard: Colts would rather build roster patiently than pay B players A+ money

NFL: AUG 24 Preseason - Bears at Colts
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Colts General Manager Chris Ballard says the path to success in building an NFL roster is through patience, not a free agent spending spree.

Ballard said on The Athletic Football Show with Robert Mays that he would rather save cap space for the future than overpay a player just because he happens to be the best available at a given position in a given year.

“We’ve got good players out of free agency, and we’ve been successful,” Ballard said, via Jonathan X. Simmons of the Indianapolis Star. “We’re just not the biggest fans of right out the gate free agency where you’re paying B players A-plus money, which is gonna affect down the line. . . . There’s a cost to that.”

Ballard would rather have cap space available to sign players he drafted to second contracts.

“Our players know we want to keep them,” Ballard said. “We’ve done a pretty good job so far of keeping the players we wanted to keep in-house. We feel like we have a really good . . . I know culture gets thrown around, but we do. I think we have a really good culture. It’s one of accountability. One where they care about each other, and one where they want to win and do special things.”

Looking ahead to the 2022 season, the Colts are slated to have the most cap space in the NFL. So Ballard will have plenty he can spend next year. But that doesn’t mean he will.

39 responses to “Chris Ballard: Colts would rather build roster patiently than pay B players A+ money

  1. Can’t wait to see the banner they hang for most cap space, to the piped in cheers of the capacity crowd.

  2. Haha…..Carson Wentz is a “B” or “C” player they are paying “A” player money!!

  3. Sounds great but what have the Colts won to speak about what is or what isn’t a great move in team building?

  4. Overpaying is a sure path to cap hell unless you pick the right player during the right year.

    At some point you have to take a risk to take that final step. It’s just that most GMs choose poorly and then refuse to admit it, making more mistakes.

  5. In the last 6 years the Colts have not won their division, got to the playoffs twice as a Wild Card and won only one playoff game.

    This year it looks like the AFC South will be the NFL’s weakest division. It may have made sense to have taken strategic advantage of that situation given free agents came cheaper this year.

  6. I AGREE but everyone in an organization has to be on the same page for it to work. Patience isn’t a virtue in most NFL head offices peoppe.get fired quick.

    But, he’s so spot on. Build your team right- and when your team is competing -THEN you make the slash signing or trade .

  7. I thought teams were required to spend up to a certain amount of the cap space every year…. Unless it’s an average over a certain period of time…..

  8. Couldn’t agree more with Ballard. It also gives him an opportunity to chirp at the Pats without mentioning them by name.

  9. I’m pretty sure the other 30 general managers and Jerry say the same thing every day.

  10. Sounds like veiled attempt to throw some shade at the Patriots after their FA spending spree. We’re always ready to pile on Belichick for being a lackluster GM, but how many championship rosters has he built… and how many has Ballard built?

  11. That comment is a great marketing tool to let agents know they won’t be dealing with you and therefore you won’t be signing many key free agents.

  12. That franchise is a reality show in the making with an owner/CEO like Irsay. Best of luck with the Wentz mental Intervention and attempt to stop the revolving door at QB since Luck.

  13. I remember when the Raiders were going through cap hell during and immediately after the Jamarcus Russell era. It took them 2-3 years to dig themselves out, and it mainly was a fix of the problems Autocratic Al had created for his team.

    I haven’t followed them since they hired Gruden (don’t get me started on the man-child with player-ADD). But I do know that kicking the can down the road eventually comes with a price. The Falcons are about to pay it, for example. Will the Colts, by being prudent, manage a decent run over the next 2-3 years? We’ll only know when it gets to 2025.

  14. minime says:
    July 6, 2021 at 8:02 am
    And zero super bowls in 10 years.
    ____________

    Its hard to replace HOF QBs. Some teams don’t even make the playoffs after losing their QB.

  15. kissbillsrings says:
    July 6, 2021 at 7:55 am
    I thought teams were required to spend up to a certain amount of the cap space every year…. Unless it’s an average over a certain period of time…..
    _________

    Its an average. I believe its over four years.

  16. It sounds totally reasonable but it would sound better if they were accomplishing more than hey have recently.

  17. He just brought in a B-/C+ QB in Carson Wentz who he is paying an astronomical amount of money and draft picks for. He just signed Eric Fisher, a B tackle with a history of injuries. I could go on and on. And what has Ballards method of roster building won? Last I checked nothing, not even a division title. Ballard is a good GM but for him to act like he doesn’t pay guys who are less than A+ caliber players as if he’s above it all is ludicrous. You have to pay those guys aren’t their enough blue chip players to go around.
    Ballard can try to throw shade at Bill B and the Patriots all he wants but he just looks like an unserious person and an absolute clown every time he does because last time I checked Billy B’s method of roster building has won more Super Bowls, Division titles and conference championships than any other coach or GM in the history of the game. Ballard’s method hasn’t won anything yet, not the AFC-South heck not even a playoff game. Hey Chris why don’t you build a roster than wins at least the AFC Championship first before running your mouth and sending verbal jabs Billy B’s way??… Until then pipe down Ballard as you just look small and envious when you run your mouth without accomplishing…. anything really.

  18. Ballard has done an exceptional job these past few year given the circumstances he came into. The Colts were a basket case under Grigson and Pagano, and then Luck retired one year into his rebuild.
    He’s done well in rebuilding both their lines and took a reasonable gamble on Wentz bouncing back under his old coordinator. Even with that risk, only two years of his contract are guaranteed, it’s not the anchor or even an ‘A’ level contract given what the going rate for quarterbacks are.

  19. Overall, I like what the Colts are doing. They are building a nice team. However, I have heard Stephen Jones say this exact same thing as it relates to the Cowboys in FA. “We don’t want to overpay. We want to pay OUR guys…” I think some of these GM’s fall in love with saving money or their perception of “getting a deal”. Successful teams employ a mix of paying targeted impact FA’s, signing their own and knowing when to let one of THEIR guys walk. You have to be willing to take chances. Sometimes those chances are expensive. If you are a good GM, know the player, know the market, structure the deals to give yourself outs and not hamstring your Team.

  20. The amusing thing is that what Ballard states is Belichick’s rule but even Bill makes exceptions when the conditions warrant.

  21. We’ll see how he feels after he has to extend Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson.

  22. A lot of Bears fans wish that the Bears had hired Ballard instead of Pace as GM. Oddly enough, the Bears have a better record than the Colts over that timeline.

    Ballard hasn’t accomplished a lot as a GM, but he still gets a pass from the national media. Why? Because he got left at the altar by McDaniels years ago?

  23. xargscutgrep says:
    July 6, 2021 at 11:20 am
    A lot of Bears fans wish that the Bears had hired Ballard instead of Pace as GM. Oddly enough, the Bears have a better record than the Colts over that timeline.
    _____________
    The Bears hired Pace in 2015
    The Colts hired Ballard in 2017
    If you go by the records since 2015:
    Colts 48-48
    Bears 42-54

    Since 2017:
    Colts 32-32
    Bears 33-31

    Hardly a runaway.

  24. ”Sounds like veiled attempt to throw some shade at the Patriots after their FA spending spree.”

    ———————————————————

    Why? Ballard just made a general statement about avoiding bringing in FAs rather than developing talent on one’s team.

    At some point most teams have to pick and choose which developed players and/or FAs to continue or add. It is a calculated sometimes expensive gamble, so it is best to try to limit how often your team does it.

  25. But, but, but…..what about the three consecutive Lombardi trophies as predicted by the jacked up owner? I guess we’ll all have to wait while they wallow through mediocrity building that special team. Laughable.

  26. Indybear says:
    July 6, 2021 at 1:09 pm
    But, but, but…..what about the three consecutive Lombardi trophies as predicted by the jacked up owner? I guess we’ll all have to wait while they wallow through mediocrity building that special team. Laughable.
    ________________
    Laughable…….coming from a Bears fan.

  27. Chris Ballard has himself on the hotseat with his C grade QB he wildly overpaid for.

    Why would you want to pay above market in 2022 anyway?

    Nothing B level about Jonnu Smith, Henry, Judon, etc. His jealousy is a delight!

  28. “I have heard Stephen Jones say this exact same thing as it relates to the Cowboys in FA” But Stephen doesn’t make the decisions on that team his daddy does. Jerry often pays ‘A’ Money for ‘B’ players.

  29. “Since 2017:
    Colts 32-32
    Bears 33-31

    Hardly a runaway.”

    My point was that Bears fans pine for the inside guy that got away. We always do. I did as well, until I realized that Ballard hasn’t accomplished anything in Indy. The smart picks like an OG don’t look as smart when the very next pick becomes an All-Pro QB.

  30. bkinacti0n says:
    July 6, 2021 at 9:12 am
    minime says:
    July 6, 2021 at 8:02 am
    And zero super bowls in 10 years.
    ____________

    Its hard to replace HOF QBs. Some teams don’t even make the playoffs after losing their QB.

    ____

    Remember when they drafted Luck first overall in 2012 after they tanked the 2011 season? Lets not forget that, because he was supposed to be the replacement.

  31. Leave it to New England fans to make this about the Pats. There was nothing in the article that remotely resembled the word Patriots, nothing to see here, move it along…

  32. To all you haters…the was a thinly veiled shot at the NE Pat’s. Belichick owns so much real estate in Ballard’s brain.

  33. Anyone who knows Ballard is aware his philosophy of building slowly through the draft; focus on your offensive and defensive lines; sign your own free agents; and be very selective in signing free agents from other teams pre-dated the Patriots signing by years. Those of you who see this as a shot at Bellichick are looking for a reason to feel insulted and trash the COLTS. It was said in an earlier post, and I will repeat, Ballard has had to deal with inheriting a dumpster fire of a roster; a franchise quarterback retiring in his prime; a coach backing out of an contract (McWeasal) and Rivers retiring after one year when they thought they had him for two. The COLTS are lightyears better across the board now than when Ballard was hired. As far as Nelson, Leonard, and Smith, he will pay “top dollar” as these are homegrown impact players. These are not B players looking for A player money. This is why Ballard is frugal in free agency– to have the cap space to re-sign such players. BTW, Billy went hunting in free agency because he is near the end of his career, and Brady winning a Superbowl made him very, very angry. He is like someone who is running up a huge credit card bill because he is desperate. to prove something. In his case, it is to prove Brady was not the reason they won Superbowls; it was his coaching.

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