Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard shared some comments on his approach to free agency. In his opinion, Ballard says that the best path to take requires patience. He prefers to stay reserved with cap space rather than pay top dollar for a free agent in a given year. He also emphasized the importance of keeping room to re-sign players he drafts.
We’re just not the biggest fans of right out the gate free agency where you’re paying B players A-plus money… There’s a cost to that… Our players know we want to keep them. We’ve done a pretty good job so far of keeping the players we wanted to keep in-house… 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.” Chris Ballard, via profootballtalk.nbcsports.com
It should come as no surprise, following this quote, that the Colts project to have the most cap space in the NFL in 2022. They’ll have more than enough money to re-sign key UFA’s like Darius Leonard and Zach Pascal.
Hired in 2016, Chris Ballard took over operations of the Colts from Ryan Grigson. Ballard, hailing from Kansas City in his previous occupation with the Chiefs, had to turn the Colts back into a competitive team. Shortly, Ballard morphed Indianapolis into a viable AFC contender. He did this using reserved cap management, smart drafting, and making an excellent hire in Frank Reich as head coach.
He drafted all-pros in Ryan Kelly, Quinten Nelson, and Darius Leonard, with key contributors in Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman, and more. Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement had the team hit a gaffe in 2019. But they rebounded nicely in 2020 with Phillip Rivers under center. They look to carry on that momentum with Carson Wentz moving forward.