Colts: Does Chris Ballard deserve to be highest-paid GM in NFL?
Colts owner Jim Irsay says he plans to extend GM Chris Ballard.
The Indianapolis Colts have beaten the odds and managed to stay relevant despite Andrew Luck retiring what felt like moments before the 2019 season. They’ve rebounded to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team with an 11-5 record, with only a tie-breaker keeping them from being AFC South champs.
The biggest reason why? General manager Chris Ballard, who was brought in to succeed Ryan Grigson back in 2017. Since then, he’s had a near-flawless draft record, which has built the Colts into contenders. Some analysts would argue Indy has the brightest future of any team in the league. All they need is a bonafide franchise quarterback.
Now, Ballard has emerged as one of the best front office executives in the NFL and deserves to be paid like one. Colts owner Jim Irsay says he plans to extend Ballard before training camp begins. Right now, Ballard is signed through 2022.
It’s unclear how much Ballard is making at the moment, but the fact that just three years ago John Elway became the highest-paid GM in football only means it’s time for Ballard to take that torch. Elway was largely a disaster running the show for the Broncos and stepped down from his post last week (and gave himself a promotion).
Back in July of 2017, we learned that general managers John Schneider of the Seahawks and Ozzie Newsome of the Ravens made somewhere around or close to $4 million annually and were among the highest-paid GMs until Elway’s deal. If that’s the case, Ballard should surely eclipse that, if Irsay understands how integral he is to the Colts’ success.
The work he’s done with the disaster he inherited — plus Luck’s retirement — speaks for itself.
The good news is that we almost know for sure that an extension will happen. That might indicate Irsay is aware he’s going to have to pay up to ensure the direction of the team is preserved and remains in good hands.
And if Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who oversaw seven consecutive subpar drafts in New England, is getting top dollar, then it would be an insult not to pay Ballard as such.
The answer is yes. Ballard deserves to be the highest-paid general manager in the sport. He’s built this team through the draft and has hit all the right buttons on both the free agent and trade markets thus far. There’s no case against paying him.
One could argue this has been one of the most unprecedented turnarounds a franchise has ever seen. It has to be rewarded fairly.