Colts: Chris Ballard defending decision not to add No. 1 wideout is frustrating

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Chris Ballard general manager of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Chris Ballard general manager of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Unfortunately, the chatter of the Indianapolis Colts‘ largely “quiet” offseason won’t go away until we’re seeing results in the field when the 2021 season kicks off.

Many fans figured the conversation would be dead by now since we’re nearing the start of training camp, coupled with the fact the discourse has been somewhat exhausted, but general manager Chris Ballard appeared on The Athletic Football Show podcast with Robert Mays and the topic was inevitably broached.

This time, it mostly focused on the wide receiving corps, which, as you know by now, is lacking a true No. 1 option. Julio Jones was there for the taking. Kenny Golladay too. Even Will Fuller! Ballard did nothing, however.

And he once again doubled down on his decision to largely stand pat in terms of impact moves following the Carson Wentz trade.

Chris Ballard thinks the Colts wide receiving corps is good enough.

As always, it comes back to money for Ballard, who runs the Colts like he’s like the executor of a 10-year-old’s trust fund. You’re playing with a billionaire’s purse and the salary cap isn’t real! Can we not be so by-the-book?

Here’s what he had to say:

"“We’ve got good players out of free agency, and we’ve been successful. We’re just not the biggest fans of right out the gate free agency where you’re paying B players A-plus money, which is gonna affect down the line. … There’s a cost to that.“I’m betting on Michael Pittman, who I think’s got a chance to be really good. I thought he ended the year strong. He had a big playoff game with over 100 yards. Everybody just ignores Zach Pascal, but all he’s done is catch (10) touchdowns over the last two years. And then getting Parris Campbell back is a big bonus and he’s looked great during the offseason. We think we’re a little better than other people do.”"

Can’t knock the optimism and confidence. Honestly, what would you rather him say? That this unit might not be good enough to help revive Wentz?

However, this “double down” does feel kind of cheap. Ballard thinks Pittman has a “chance to be really good.” He mentioned TY Hilton can “still play.” The return of Parris Campbell, who’s hardly played to start his NFL career, is considered a “big bonus.” And all Zach Pascal’s done is “catch 10 touchdowns” the last two seasons.

Why take issues with these comments? Banking on someone who “has the chance to be good” is always a risk, regardless of how you look at it. Hilton can “still play,” but he’s not even close to the player he once was. Campbell could be a “big boost” if he’s healthy, but there’s no indication he will be after appearing in just nine games over his first two seasons. Pascal catching five touchdowns in each of the past two seasons isn’t exactly out of this world. You know who else had five TD catches last year? James Washington, Irv Smith Jr., Isaiah McKenzie, Tyler Higbee, Keelan Cole, and DJ Chark.

Ballard could be right. Everything could be better than expected. And we’re not faulting him for responding in a positive manner, but there are holes in his optimism, and it all could’ve been avoided had he just decided to bring in a more established player.