INDIANAPOLIS – It’s taken three years of roster building, but Chris Ballard feels like his locker room is finally ready.
In past offseasons, Ballard frequently stated that the locker room still needed time before the GM went after a bigger name/talented acquisition, who might not check every single one of the important character boxes that the Colts hold in high regard.
That time has come to an end though.
Ballard feels the Colts are ready to handle that type of player.
“Yeah, I do,” Ballard said of the Colts locker room being able to bring in such a player here in 2020. “We have good guys. We have a good locker room. We talked a lot at the end of the season about needing more friction. Lord knows, I’ve had a lot of talks with our players about that.”
When Ballard addressed his team at the end of the 2019 season, he made it clear that they needed more friction in terms of player-led accountability.
Even in early January, you saw signs from the GM possibly altering his approach this offseason.
Of course, Ballard will maintain the bulk of the building through the draft. And it still takes both parties to come together in free agency.
But the lack of depth, missing of veteran voices and general talent deficiency at key spots of the Colts got exposed last season as they went 7-9 and missed the playoffs.
With a mix of key vets (T.Y. Hilton, Justin Houston, Anthony Castonzo) and young core guys (Quenton Nelson, Darius Leonard, Kenny Moore) in place, Ballard now believes his locker room is better equipped to absorb a bigger name/personality.
The willingness to go down that path comes at a critical time for the franchise.
Ballard and the Colts face a massive question at the quarterback position, among other notable needs at wide receiver and the defensive line, along with a long-term view at left tackle.
Fortunately, the Colts enter the offseason with a bundle of resources, unlike virtually any other team in the NFL.
Free agency offers some intriguing names at quarterback and along the defensive line, particularly.
Some had predicted the Colts would be more open to spending in free agency this offseason.
Ballard confirmed that on Tuesday.
“Our locker room is outstanding,” the GM said on Tuesday. “They work. They are good guys and they do things the right way.
“So I do think we can handle (such an acquisition).”