Colts: Why didn’t Chris Ballard inquire about Stephon Gilmore trade?

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 20: Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 20: Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts might need to start looking to the trade or free agent markets over the next few weeks if they want to keep improving the roster after such a slow start. Unfortunately, one of the best and most impactful ways to do so just went by the wayside in Stephon Gilmore.

Due to his contract status, injury, and the direction of the franchise, the Patriots were doing everything possible to get him out of New England. While a trade finally happened, Ballard and his substandard Indianapolis secondary were not the final destination.


The Carolina Panthers acquired the Rock Hill native and brought him back home (or at least as close to home as he could get). All Scott Fitterer had to part with was a 2023 sixth-round pick, and he ended up with one of the very best cornerbacks in the game by bringing the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year on board.

The very low cost of acquiring Gilmore raised some eyebrows and provoked frustration from 28 other NFL fanbases. Why wasn’t Ballard more aggressive in trying to secure a surefire No. 1 cornerback?

The Colts should’ve looked into Stephon Gilmore.

The Panthers were only able to take on Gilmore while giving away such paltry draft capital because they absorbed the rest of his contract. The Colts have given up some of their better picks recently in trades, so Ballard is clearly not nervous about potentially giving more away to improve right now.

While the Colts might not have enough cap space to afford Gilmore at this moment in time, teams like the Saints and Buccaneers have jumped through all sorts of hoops. You couldn’t have done the old “convert some of his salary into a signing bonus” or “voidable years” thing for someone like him?

While the Colts won’t have to face Carolina in the regular season, and the odds of either one of these teams making the Super Bowl seems unlikely, the Panthers did just add an elite cornerback to a defense that was already playing at an high level. He would’ve looked good in Indy and no doubt would’ve helped a unit that’s been struggling.

A cornerback room led by Xavier Rhodes, Rock Ya-Sin, and Kenny Moore is by no means awful, Gilmore might have been the X-factor that gave them an edge over the Titans in the race for the AFC South crown.

Unfortunately, hesitation beyond our comprehension could get this done, and the Colts will hope that rolling with the same crew will pan out for the rest of the season.