Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard has done an excellent job of building a playoff-caliber roster. What’s been so impressive about his work thus far is that he’s done it mostly through the draft.
The Colts have made a few notable moves in free agency over the past few years, but Ballard usually refrains from going after marquee names on the open market.
Ballard revealed why the Colts aren’t considered major players in free agency during an appearance on The Athletic Football Show with Robert Mays.
“We’ve got good players out of free agency, and we’ve been successful,” Ballard said, via Jonathan X. Simmons of the Indy 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.”
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) July 6, 2021
Instead of using the team’s cap space to sign high-profile free agents, Ballard rather wait and use that money to re-sign impact players who he drafted to long-term deals.
“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. 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.”
Fans might not like this approach because it’s not considered flashy, but it makes sense for Ballard to keep the team’s homegrown talent around for the long haul.
The Colts will eventually have to use their cap space to retain star players like Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson.