The Colts have one of the highest amount of cap spaces in the entire NFL. Yet they still refuse to use their money to improve their roster.
GM Chris Ballard preached patience and building through the draft when he spoke at the combine. He sees value in being able to hand select and coach his own players. But that approach doesn’t excuse the lack of action the Colts have displayed in free agency.
Yesterday, it was reported that the Colts released Jonathan Hankins, their biggest free agent signing last offseason. He was signed to a three year $30 million year last offseason. Hankins was a good player for the defense and helped stopped the run better than previous Colt players.
People may think that releasing him is a byproduct of changing from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense. That makes sense, except for the fact that Hankins played in a 4-3 system his entire tenure with the Giants, and in college at Ohio State. That system is something he clearly can play in.
Releasing Hankins is just one of the exceedingly baffling moves, or lack of moves, that Ballard has made. He let Rashaan Melvin go to Oakland, released Hankins, and has only signed one player, Denico Autry, so far in free agency.
It might be too early to criticize Ballard for his short time as GM. But only slightly early. Ballard’s resume thus far isn’t exactly top grade. His first full free agency class last season failed to have the type of impact that was anticipated. And he released his best free agent from that signing. Ballard also let his best cornerback walk without even offering him a contract, despite the massive amount of money he has at his disposal.
His draft picks will have time to prove themselves, but Colts fans will only wait so long. This agonizing lack of action in free agency is frustrating, and confusing, and Colts fans can only hope Ballard knows what he is doing.