The Indianapolis Colts patched up their quarterback situation in blockbuster fashion on Thursday when they agreed to acquire Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional second-rounder in 2022 that could become a first if certain benchmarks are met.
Things really broke in the Colts favor when it was reported that Wentz had zero intention of playing for Chicago, who were the only other team knowingly vying for his services. That really backed the Eagles into a corner, as it confirmed the dissipation of their leverage.
It was pretty delusional of Philly in the first place to demand two first-rounders in return for a seemingly broken quarterback, and Chris Ballard emphatically proved that he’s the best general manager in the NFL by calling their bluff and countering as seamlessly as he did.
According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter, the Colts’ didn’t modify their initial offer for Wentz at all during the negotiation process. Their first proposal was the only one submitted and the Eagles, like many suspected they would do, eventually caved and accepted.
Colts executive Chris Ballard is the cream of the crop as far as NFL general managers are concerned.
We don’t make the rules, but if you don’t view the 53-year-old exec in this regard, then you simply haven’t been paying attention.
Fully aware that Wentz only wanted to be dealt to Indianapolis and that the Bears’ interest would eventually pull themselves from the negotiations, Ballard pushed his chips — not even close to all of them, of course — to the center of the table and basically told the Eagles to call him when they were ready to accept.
That’s how you play the game, folks. And for those wondering, giving Ballard this de facto title boils down to a lot more than just him fleecing Philadelphia in this trade. Last offseason, he completely transformed the Colts’ defense by acquiring defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who went on to produce 58 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 28 QB hits, 31 pressures, and three passes defended in 2020, and subsequently signed him to a contract extension.
You could also point to Ballard trading back in the 2018 draft only to select one of the most dominant offensive linemen (let alone guards) in the league in Quenton Nelson, who’s been named an All-Pro in each of his first three seasons, as another exceptional transaction.
For the sake of time, we won’t go through all of Ballard’s draft picks since he took over as GM in 2017. However, the fact that the Colts are on the cusp of becoming a championship contender just two years after they lost franchise quarterback Andrew Luck to early retirement is a massive testament to his ability to cultivate a roster, most of which has his DNA ingrained in it.
There’s no reason to hide it anymore. Ballard is the best in the NFL at what he does and it’s about time the national media — not just Colts fans and the state of Indiana — starts recognizing him as such. Seriously, what more does he have to prove? Well, we guess a Super Bowl win could make it official.