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INDIANAPOLIS Chris Ballard warned everyone that his approach wasn’t likely to change.

Despite the league indicating otherwise, Ballard’s contentment in believing what the Colts already have in-house at wide receiver is alive and well again this offseason.

Is this the right approach when comparing the Colts wideouts to others around the league?

Again, Ballard hinted at this back in January.

With free agents in T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal (signed with the Eagles), the Colts could be losing nearly half of their wide receiver snaps from last season.

Given the Colts cap situation, Ballard’s repeated notion that it is not wise to expect early return from drafted wide receivers and what deep playoff run teams had at wideout last year, the thought was there that an actual change might have come from his usual stringent line of thinking.

But Ballard put some water on that fire back in January. At the NFL Combine next month though, Ballard did say that the Colts would be adding competition to the wideout room.

So far though, that hasn’t happened.

As free agency reaches its third week, the Colts have yet to make a free agency signing at wide receiver (or anyone on offense).

Of the higher-end free agent wideouts in 2022, the group has dried up to the point where unless you are Odell Beckham (29 years old) or Jarvis Landry (29 years old), you are over the age of 30.

Did the Colts uncertain quarterback situation hinder their ability to attract a wideout in free agency? While that is a hurdle, you saw the Lions and Jaguars sign some accomplished wideouts this month. Plus, this approach by Ballard has been there no matter the QB in Indy.

On the returning list the Colts are banking for massive strides from are: a 6th round pick with 2 career catches (Dezmon Patmon), a 7th round pick with 2 career catches (Mike Strachan), an undrafted free agent who has never caught more than 2 balls in 43 NFL games (Ashton Dulin), a player who was cut by the Texans and caught 1 ball in Indy last year (Keke Coutee) and a guy who has played 15 games in three years (Parris Campbell).

It would be one thing if the Colts didn’t have the money to try and bolster this group, or if those in-waiting had shown at lease some flashes after being early-draft picks.

One might say this path is similar to what the Colts did along their defensive line last year, in letting Justin Houston and Denico Autry walk in free agency.

But while the Colts had younger DL options coming from former 1st and 2nd round picks that high-invested youth isn’t there at wide receiver.

And, again, Ballard himself has said that it’s hard to count on early impact from drafted wideouts.

Banking on Campbell to give the Colts something now 4 years into his career is foolish. You can’t pencil him in as a definite name on the depth chart. Keeping him for one more year is fine, but not with the assumption that he’s all of a sudden going to be healthy for 15 games.

A couple of off-season wide receiver moves that should have been explored by the Colts instead went to other AFC contenders.

That would be the Browns acquiring Amari Cooper for a 5th round pick. And then Robert Woods heading to the Titans for a 6th round selection. Those were moves for proven wideouts, while giving up just a Day 3 pick and moves the Colts could have pulled off given their ample cap space.

Elsewhere in the AFC, the Dolphins made a gargantuan splash in trading for Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs tried to offset that by signing free agents JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

All of that has taken place while Indy is banking on its nondescript in-house group to support a new quarterback.

Sure, it’s likely/expected the Colts will spend one of their early draft picks next month on a wide receiver. But that thought process pigeonholes the unpredictability of the draft and still isn’t a slam dunk to offer Ryan enough support.

Remember the list of wideouts from those final 8 teams in the playoffs last year.

It would laugh at Michael Pittman and some of the names above.

This sort of game has bit the Colts in the past.

Will it happen again?