Remember during free agency when the Indianapolis Colts, despite being flush with ample cap space this offseason, refused to spend big on positions of need?
Well, it ultimately became clear that the Colts were saving some of that money for contract extensions for some of their homegrown stars. Essentially, general manager Chris Ballard chose to retain these players — Darius Leonard, Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith — instead of going all-out in pursuit of a title.
There’s something to be said for being that financially intuitive, and Colts fans (eventually) understood this method was probably in the best interest of the franchise.
We’d still argue Ballard could’ve exploited some loopholes to sign free agents, but we still fully believe he’s the right GM to preside over this new generation of Colts football. At the same time, however, we’re starting to get a little impatient waiting for one of these extensions to be completed.
Well, during a recent appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Ballard revealed he’s neck deep in negotiations with training camp right around the corner.
Chris Ballard finally updated Colts fans on contract extensions for star players.
This might not have been the update Colts fans were hoping for. After all, free agency was an incredibly frustrating time and Ballard urged the fan base placate its tempers because the cap space was going to be used to lock up some of the franchise’s cornerstone pieces.
However, the fifth-year GM was never going to come public with a timeline of when these extensions would be completed. The main takeaway is that he’s started negotiations. It also shouldn’t be understated that Ballard is tasked with signing three players — two of whom (Leonard and Nelson) could reset the market at the linebacker and guard positions.
On top of that, Smith has proven over the last three seasons, especially during 2020 when he didn’t even allow a sack over close to 500 pass-blocking snaps, that he deserves to be one of the highest-paid right tackles in the league. That’s a lot for a GM to handle in one offseason.
Unfortunately for Ballard, this is the only pitfall of being an excellent drafter. Think about how many teams have three players from the same draft, two of whom were taken in the second round, by the way, emerge as high-end talents? The list is extremely short.
Again, while we understand Colts fans who are ready to rip their hair out waiting for the notification that one of Leonard, Nelson or Smith have been locked up, but just have a little more patience with Ballard. He has a ton on his plate right now, so it’s going to take longer than fans (and we) initially hoped for these deals to get done.