Colts: 3 huge missed opportunities at trade deadline

Marlon Mack #25 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Marlon Mack #25 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
1 of 3
Marcus Maye #20 of the New York Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Good news: the Indianapolis Colts were just as active as any other team during the 2021 NFL trade deadline!

The bad news? Nobody did anything whatsoever and the deadline was quieter than a small belch at a Harry Styles concert.

Truth be told, Indy was in the most difficult position a team can be in entering a fork in the road. They’re certainly not as good as they anticipated being. After all, they entered the season as presumptive neck-and-neck AFC South favorites with the Tennessee Titans, only to end up three games behind with an extremely extended core and too many issues to patch in one fell swoop.

Could the Colts have upgraded their defense or filled a hole on the line? Certainly! But perhaps Chris Ballard doesn’t believe in his team’s chances to make up this year’s deficit, even without an active Derrick Henry in Nashville.

Not good enough to contend but not bad enough for a teardown, Ballard no doubt found himself at a crossroads. Unfortunately, he resolved that difficult decision by … doing absolutely nothing, the least helpful thing a general manager can do (though certainly the trendiest option this fall!).

We’re not sure the 2021 Colts are worth saving, but there were hybrid measures Ballard could’ve attempted that would’ve appeased the fan base without costing a horrifying amount of future capital. These missed opportunities feel the most glaring, now that the dust has settled.

3 missed opportunities for the Indianapolis Colts at the trade deadline

3. Adding Defensive Back Help

It’s tougher than we thought to diagnose what exactly the Colts did wrong here — because, after all, no cheap DBs changed hands! Stephon Gilmore wasn’t an option. It feels so funny to react by saying, “Indy made a huge gaffe not inventing a trade for cornerback/safety help,” but then again … what’s there isn’t cutting it, even if all Frank Reich’s bunch wants to be is competitive.

Perhaps Jets safety Marcus Maye? He would’ve cost quite a haul, and was thought to be available … until New York added instead of subtracted.

Maybe rookie DB Kary Vincent Jr., who was flipped to the Eagles from the Broncos in exchange for a sixth-rounder? Again, we’re not picky here; the Colts need bodies above all else, especially as the supposedly healthy Xavier Rhodes regresses to a perilous degree before our very eyes.

I don’t know how Ballard has evaluated the league’s available defensive backs. Clearly, there wasn’t anyone on the market to … anyone’s liking, commensurate with the required cost. But this team simply needs new and different non-practice squad players to even maintain the status quo following injuries to Julian Blackmon and Khari Willis, and we were disappointed with the lack of change.