Colts: Chris Ballard opens up on Philip Rivers’ timeline
Colts GM Chris Ballard revealed when he’ll approach Philip Rivers about his future.
With a bow officially put on the 2020 season following their opening round playoff loss, the conversation surrounding the Indianapolis Colts has already shifted to who will be under center once training camp rolls around.
Unfortunately for the fan base, that question won’t be answered until Philip Rivers comes to a decision about his future. Last week, the 38-year-old quarterback hinted that he wants to return for another year, but also acknowledged that he’ll have to think long and hard about what’s best for him and his family.
Well, it appears we might finally have a timeline as to when that decision will be made. While speaking to reporters on Friday, general manager Chris Ballard revealed that he’ll approach Rivers in about a month to discuss both his future and the organization’s intentions for the position.
"“I didn’t commit either way,” Ballard said. “What I told Philip was, we need to both take a month and decide what direction we go. This is after he told me, ‘Chris, I’m not 100 percent sure.’ Do we want Philip back? Yes. But I told Philip we have to go through the process. I have to do my job.”"
Rivers was signed to a one-year, $25 million contract last offseason and he, much to the surprise of fans and analysts, proved to outperform that deal.
In normal circumstances, Ballard wouldn’t think twice about re-signing him. However, since he’ll turn 40 in the middle of next season, there’s really no guarantee that he can produce at a level that aligns with the team’s aspirations.
"“If this is a 30-year-old Philip Rivers or a 35-year-old Philip Rivers, we’re not having this talk, but this is a 39-year-old Philip Rivers who might have one, maybe two years left,” Ballard continued. “Your skill set declines as you get older. Age is undefeated. It just is. For me, for Rivers to be able to figure out a different way to play and win was pretty fun to watch this year.”"
Ballard continued to reiterate that he wouldn’t be having this discussion if Rivers was four or five years younger and that he doesn’t want to see headlines that claim the organization has already decided to move on from him this offseason.
It’s clear that the 51-year-old GM wants to keep his options open, but unfortunately for him, there won’t be many available. Not only will most of the top quarterback prospects likely be off the board by the time their first-round pick (No. 21 overall) comes around, but the upcoming free agency class is bereft of franchise-caliber talent.
By process of elimination, orchestrating a trade would be his only remaining course of action. As enticing as that sounds given Ballard’s track record in that department, there’s simply no way to know who will be made available.
We wish we had answers for Colts fans, but for now they have no other choice but to sit and wait for Rivers to decide on his future. Only then will we have a better idea of how Indianapolis plans to address the QB position.