OK, Indianapolis Colts fans. Some of you aren’t exactly blown away by general manager Chris Ballard’s offseason moves. And we wouldn’t necessarily blame you.
Then again, Ballard’s MO isn’t about the headlines or the splashes. He’s all about operating in the shadows. Signing under-the-radar free agents. Selecting overlooked prospects in the NFL Draft.
But at some point, he’s going to have to make something we’d consider a “blockbuster.” Some might file the Carson Wentz trade under that category, but the fact of the matter was that the Colts needed a quarterback, Wentz wanted out of Philly, and everything lined up (eventually) with regard to the Eagles’ asking price.
Oh, yeah, speaking of Wentz, why not arm him with another elite weapon? How about that, Mr. Ballard?
The trade rumors surrounding Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones continue to circulate and others in sports media (not just us!) are considering Indy as a potential destination for the veteran wide receiver.
Here’s ESPN’s Michael Rothstein’s take on the matter:
"“The Colts have the cap room (just over $21.5 million) and a quarterback in Carson Wentz who could use a high-level receiver. Other than T.Y. Hilton, the Colts’ receivers are long on potential and lacking in true production. Hilton’s production has waned, too, including just 56 catches for 762 yards and five touchdowns last year. Not bad numbers, but the addition of Jones to Hilton would be a win for Wentz and a team seemingly in a win-now mode after making the playoffs in two of the last three years. Plus, general manager Chris Ballard has been bold in his trades before – between the Wentz deal this year and trading for DeForest Buckner a year ago.”"
Is this what Ballard was waiting to do with the remainder of the Colts’ cap space? It feels like he’s been sitting on over $21 million for months now. The Wentz trade oddly put a halt to big-time transactions when this team is … just a few big transactions away from becoming a legitimate threat to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Come on! Even former Colts punter Pat McAfee knows this would be a perfect fit! Imagine Jones alongside Michael Pittman Jr., TY Hilton, Zach Pascal and a healthy Parris Campbell? And Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox, and potential new weapon Kylen Granson at tight end?
One important note, though. Any Jones trade with the Falcons will not be happening until after June 1, which is when Atlanta can save $15 million against the cap for the 2022 season. That gives the Colts even more time to figure out their cap situation for the foreseeable future (Jones is signed through 2023) and tinker with a trade package they’d think would be fair (we know Ballard likes to take his time with those).
Acquiring Jones won’t exactly be easy, but it would elevate the Colts in so many ways. It’d improve the run game (which hardly even needs fine-tuning), make Wentz more comfortable in a new setting after a career-worst campaign, and open up the field for the other playmakers on offense.
Everyone will have to shut up if Ballard pulls this off.