The NFL has taught the Colts that it’s time for a new free agency approach

Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard speaks to the
Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard speaks to the / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

With free agency approaching, it’s time for Chris Ballard and the Indianapolis Colts to apply the lesson that the NFL has taught them in recent years.

On Wednesday, March 15, free agency will start for the NFL. If you’re a fan of the Indianapolis Colts, you’re probably optimistic but expectations may be low. That’s because Colts fans are familiar with Indy’s free agency approach under general manager Chris Ballard. An approach that is one of patience. All fans can recite Ballard’s philosophy of not wanting to pay B players A+ money. As a result, Indianapolis and it’s fans are usually on the sideline watching at the start of free agency as all of the big names fly off the board.

This offseason, Indy is working with significantly less cap space than they’ve had in previous years under Ballard, so should fans expect things to change? Hopefully, this year will be different, because Chris Ballard and the Colts should have learned a lesson from the NFL. That lesson is that the teams that spend money are rewarded with success.

It’s time for the Colts to be aggressive in free agency

While there are examples all throughout the league showing what being a big spender in free agency can do for a team, Indy has to look no further than its own division. Last offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars stole the show with their spending spree. They were the top spenders in free agency last year, signing 16 guys for $272,115,000.

While it was happening, many in the NFL world was laughing at the Jaguars and criticizing them for overpaying. As Ballard would say, Jacksonville was guilty of paying for A+ money for B players out of desperation. However, when it was time to play football, the Jagaurs were the ones laughing.

Jacksonville went from a league-worst record of 3-14 in 2021 to an AFC South-winning record of 9-8. Additionally, they advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs. What was once criticism, turned to praise, as the players that Jacksonville had just acquired in free agency, were the same players that impacted the team’s winning.

So when free agency starts and Ballard and the Colts think about being conservative and not wanting to overpay, he should just think about the Jaguars’ transformation and the fact that Jacksonville won the AFC South over the Colts because it was willing to be aggressive in free agency.

READ MORE: The moves Colts can make to create more cap space