This could be the best offseason in Indianapolis Colts history…
By best, I mean most exciting.
By this time last offseason, Colts fans were upset by the mess of a roster put together by Ryan Grigson. It was an exciting day when he was fired and replaced by a man from Kansas City, Chris Ballard. Colts fan were also excited about hearing that Luck was getting shoulder surgery in January to return before the 2017 season better than ever. In case you missed it, he did not return.
Ballard did quick to change the roster around from being Andrew Luck and a bunch of aging veterans, to one of the youngest in the NFL. He signed free agents to bolster the defensive line (Jabaal Sheard, Jonathan Hankins, John Simon, and Al Woods), while also grabbing some backups to create competition(Kamar Aiken, Brandon Williams). In the draft, he addressed the defense even more, focusing mainly on the defensive backs. He selected ball-hawk safety Malik Hooker from Ohio State at number 15 overall. Hooker started his rookie campaign very promising, getting an interception in his first three starts. His season turned sour when he suffered a torn ACL and MCL in week 7. Ballard also selected cornerback Quincy Wilson and Nate Hairston in the second and fifth rounds, respectively. Both corners have been impressive when given the chance. Wilson was a healthy scratch for part of the season, but ended on a good note with an interception to seal the game against the Texans. Hairston has been a solid slot-corner all season, and will be a starter in the future.
Ballard also did the unthinkable and beat Bill Belichick in a trade. A week before the NFL regular season started, Ballard realized the trouble he was in with Luck not coming back anytime soon and the best QB on the roster was Scott Tolzien. He made a deal with the Patriots and acquired Jacoby Brissett for 1st round bust WR Phillip Dorsett. Brissett took over for Tolzien after a horrible start to the Rams and never looked back. Jacoby now looks like a tremendous backup to Luck, or possibly trade bait for a QB-needy team. Phillip, on the other hand, has just over 200 yards this season for the Patriots.
Now, that was all last off season, now we look to this off season.
Since Andrew Luck failed to play one game this year for the Colts, the team suffered greatly, even with what help Ballard did. The Colts finished the year 4-12, good enough (or bad enough) for third worse in the league. That is exactly what makes this off season so exciting.
The All Important Draft:
Since the Colts did so poorly, the team secured the number three overall pick in the coming NFL draft. With this being a quarterback loaded draft along with one of the best running back prospects ever, there’s a chance Ballard tries to trade back and get a king’s ransom(ex. Browns, Rams). Even if the Colts stay at number three, there’s plenty of good players to select(Bradley Chubb, Saquon Barkley). Not only will the Colts have elite position in the 1st round, but they will also be drafting high in each round following that. The Colts will be in prime position to grab at least 3 starting caliber players, as well as some quality backups to fill out the roster.
Also, with this being the worse season since the dreadful 2011 season with Peyton Manning out, this gave a good excuse for Ballard and Irsay to get rid of Pagano. Though Pagano is an amazing man and person, he was not a good fit for the Colts anymore. This opens the door for Ballard to hire someone himself that he likes and trusts. This also gives the team the chance to give Andrew Luck an offensive head coach to make him shine even more. Look at what happened to the Rams and Jared Goff when McVay came in. Word has come out from NFL insider Ian Rapoport that the Patriots offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, is the current favorite for the job in Indy.
Plenty of Spending Money:
As if it couldn’t get any better, the Colts are going to be sitting on a lot of money this offseason to spend. Currently, the Colts will have over $80 million in cap space. If you thought Ballard redid the roster last offseason, there’s a good chance it changes even more this year. With plenty of holes on this roster yet, Ballard has some room to play around.
And oh yeah, there’s still one more thing to look forward to…
This guy should be healthy again.
What do you think? Who should the Colts sign in free agency, and who should they draft? Let us know down below in the comments.