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Colts GM Chris Ballard addresses Anthony Richardson, salary cap and free agency at the NFL Scouting Combine

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By: Thomas Butler-Guerrero

Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard talks to the media at the 2024 NFL Combine at Indiana Convention Center.  | Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

“I think we went over 2,718 players,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Wednesday during his media press conference at the Indiana Convention Center. 

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts may need more outside help than expected in 2024.

“I think we went over 2,718 players,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Wednesday during his media press conference at the Indiana Convention Center.

Ballard declared his faith in Colts head coach Shane Steichen constructing an offense that compliments Anthony Richardson’s strengths as a player. He praised Steichen’s “adaptability” as the Colts suffered through injuries in his first year as head coach. Ballard deemed Steichen a “problem solver” for ultimately discovering the Colts identity throughout the 2023 campaign.

Richardson orchestrated an ample amount of explosive plays in his brief five weeks as Indianapolis’ starting quarterback. The Colts front office aims to develop a security blanket of an offensive line, while discovering hidden gems of skill players during the NFL Scouting Combine. Richardson returned to the field in February and will spend his first off-season in a rehabilitation throwing program while the medical staff holds the reins on Indianapolis’ franchise quarterback.

“I lived through the last one and I have learned a lot of lessons living through the last one, so forgive me for being a little cautious,” Ballard said, referring to Andrew Luck.

The 2024 NFL Draft presents an astounding receiver class that Ballard compared to Michael Pittman Jr.’s 2020 draft class, which included receivers Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, and Tee Higgins. Not only did the Colts cycle through a carousel of defensive backs last season, but shuffled through a variety of receivers signed off the practice squad with limited playing experience. Ballard took blame for the lack of depth the Colts had regarding receivers in 2023.

When discussing the historic salary cap increase to $255.4M, Ballard mentioned it gives every team in the league “a little more room to work with” and “a little more of a parachute”. Ballard indicated the front office is working hard to sign receiver Michael Pittman Jr. to a long-term deal, but did not specify whether the franchise tag will be used if the two sides can’t come to terms before the March 5 deadline. When asked if there is a primary position the Colts will focus on in free agency, Ballard replied as bluntly as he could “No, all of them.”

“Everyone gets excited for that week and stamps a future Super Bowl winner off of that, but what you are seeing is you’ve got free agency and you’ve got the A-level players,” Ballard said. “Well, what happens with them? Well, they get tagged. Now you got the next level ones that you end up paying A-money. If there is one on the market that we think fits us and, look, it takes two sides here. There are times you make a big offer to a player and you just don’t get him. He goes somewhere else. That is part of it. We will be as aggressive as we need to be and where we think we need to be.”

Originally posted on Stampede Blue – All Posts