Colts: Should Jim Irsay be pressing Chris Ballard to trade for Julio Jones?
You’re sick of the Julio Jones trade rumors, aren’t you? It’s hard not to be, especially if you’re an Indianapolis Colts fan. The discourse is flying in every direction.
What do we know so far based on the industry buzz? The Colts are reportedly a suitor … but a Chris Ballard text message may have put that to rest. But they inquired about Jones before the draft? But they don’t have the cap space! Or the draft capital?! Who knows. That’s not our job to figure out.
What we can actually put our finger on, however? Jones wants out. He said it himself. The Colts do need a No. 1 wide receiver. The salary cap is a farce. And Jim Irsay is a billionaire.
Shouldn’t those four points be enough to make this a done deal? Hello?! Anybody home?!
Colts owner Jim Irsay should be pushing for a Julio Jones trade.
Trading for Jones is not Ballard’s style, we get it. You do not have to tell us again. You don’t need to tell us that Jones’ base salary of $15.3 million is $500K more than what the Colts have available in cap space. You also do not need to tell us that the Colts trading draft capital is complicated since there’s a 2022 conditional second-rounder floating in the air right now based on Carson Wentz’s 2021 performance.
We don’t need to hear it.
Too often we’ve seen teams disregard cap space and spend their draft assets wisely to build a Super Bowl contender, and Colts fans might realize this is their time to do it, too. What are they waiting for? Patrick Mahomes will be around for the next 10-15 years. The Patriots will soon return to their dominant selves. The Steelers and Ravens aren’t going away.
So that leads us to believe that maybe Irsay is pushing for this deal to happen. There’s still time. Jones won’t be traded until after June 1 because it’ll save the Falcons a ton of dead cap. Irsay also probably realizes that the team just went in on Wentz and will have 2-3 years to diagnose his effectiveness. Jones has three more years left on his current deal. The Colts also possess arguably the best offensive line in football and a ferocious defense that should be even better in 2021.
Like we said, the salary cap is a farce. If Irsay wanted to, he could convert some of Jones’ salary into a signing bonus and preserve some of that $14.8 million in cap space. As for draft picks, yes, they’re crucial, but the Colts just stocked up on a ton of players over the last four years. Jones is an All-Pro talent. What player are you getting in the second round that will end up being as impactful as he’s been? Odds are, you’re not getting anyone who will come close.
Ballard has his processes. He’s been methodical, effective, strategic, successful. The list goes on. But one could argue he lacks that boldness. He seems to abide by the salary cap rules too rigidly. He holds onto draft picks like they’re Fabergé eggs. He just might need a risk taker like Irsay whispering in his ear, “This is where we strike. This is the move we make. It’s right here, all we have to do is act. And we’re not going to go that overboard.”
Forget the rules for a second. Throw the book away. Create your own destiny. Make other teams scared of you. We’ll know if it paid off in two years. If it doesn’t, nobody will fault you for it. If it does? Well, you might reach the pinnacle of the sport. That’s the ceiling. That’s the goal. That’s why you take the risks.