This is all about getting the Colts to a place where they can compete in 2017 and not crippling them beyond. It's a very tough balance, but I believe Ballard can do it. Here is how:Mock Offseason Step 1- Analyze your roster and specifically call out weaknesses It starts in the trenches on both sides of the ball. We all know that and Ballard specifically called that out as well. Let’s start on offense with the O-Line. O-Line final word- We are solid from LT to C. Even if you don't love Castanzo, his contract keeps him here regardless. I like Clark’s potential, so I am not pursuing a starting RT early in the draft or in FA unless it’s the perfect situation. Plus we have a few guys that can help fill in if he falls flat on his face. Haeg was pretty solid for a rookie last year, but RG could be improved upon. It’s not one of my top targets, but if I can get a stud RG that fits our system for the right price or draft one that we have high confidence in, I may pull the trigger. QB final word- Cut Tolzien, keep Morrison for cheaper and more potential, bring in an UDFA to challenge Morrison and take a beating in the offseason. RB final word- Finding a RB (or 2) that are not currently on the roster to be in my top 3 or 4 on the depth chart is not priority number 1 with this roster… but it probably is #1 on the offense. Expect at least one draft pick to go toward filling the hole of 1.) Playmaker and 2.) Future RB1. TE final word- Ideally re-sign Doyle, cut Allen, keep Swoope and go after a young talent. If Doyle commands too much (as in more than Allen got last year) then I stick with Allen/Swoope/Rookie. WR final word- - Those 4 (Hilton, Moncrief, Dorsett, Rogers) return, Bray only comes back as a camp body to see if he can improve as a WR (not counting on it) and the Colt’s go after a guy that can compete anywhere in the 2-5 spot via FA or draft. OFFENSIVE NEEDS IN ORDER- RB (playmaker and future RB1), starting RG, WR who can compete in the WR2/3 range, young TE. DL final word- We have some pieces, but if we are going to run our defense effectively, I want to see a NT who can eat blocks. I’d love to have another guy who can get pressure, but if Ridgeway improves and Anderson/Langford get healthy, we have enough pieces considering our limited resources (draft picks/cap space vs. other needs). A NT who can stuff the run and get after the QB is the priority here. LB final word- I’m torn on Walden, but at the end of the day, I probably offer him a "fair" 3 year contract where the last year has no guaranteed money. 3 years around 18-21 mil total. I fully realize many double digit sack guys get 10-15m per year, but I’m not giving a 31 year old edge setter who is solid but not special more than that. With the cap room we have, we could absorb 3 years 18-21 mil with year 3 as "optional" as we could cut him.. no guaranteed money in year 3. Whether he accepts that or gets a better offer, I am hitting both FA and the draft hard for starting LB talent. We need young talent and veteran leadership all over the LB group. CB final word- We need a starter, allowing Robinson to play in the 3 and Melvin and other’s to develop. I wouldn’t mind another developmental guy and bringing back Butler for depth at S/CB. Safety final word- With all of that said, I am pursuing Butler to be a flex and a solid backup who is good at more than just ST. We need someone to step in and play if Green sucks again or if Geathers goes down. If we carry 5 I go after someone in the draft, probably with a late round pick to compete with UDFA and FA who don’t get overpaid during FA. DEFENSIVE NEEDS IN ORDER- OLB, ILB, NT, CB2 (future 1), S, DE Money to spend- Overthecap shows us at 54.2m today. Cut Jones, Allen and Tolzien gives us almost 10m more, so 64m entering FA. Overthecap also shows we need about 6.2m for our draft class, and I assume we want to carry over at least 5m or so for in season transactions and what not. So let’s say we have a cool $53m to spend in FA. Step 2- RE-SIGN YOUR OWN- Jack Doyle is definitely brought back. He can basically have the contract DA got. 4 years, 30 mil, 7.5 per year. I would give Walden upwards of 7 mil per year but only 2 years guaranteed (with 0-500k guaranteed in year 3). I’m guessing someone gives him more, so I will say he gone. I give Butler 2 years and 4 mil to be a flex S/CB, so 2m per. Turbin gets 2 and 3 total, 1.5 per. If he walks, no sweat but I say he accepts it for this mock. Kerr is a RFA so he would get the 1.3m. Swoope is an ERFA, and my understanding is it will take almost nothing to bring him back, so I don’t think he will count in the top 51. To recap, Doyle, Butler, Turbin, Kerr, Swoope- 12.3 against the cap this year, leaving us with 39.7m to spend. Step 3- FREE AGENCY- We can’t tie up money in unproven or old players as we need to get better AND get younger. Melvin Ingram- He can get after the passer and has gotten better at stopping the run. He is only 27 so he will be the same age as Walden is now after this contract. I give him 4 and 52, 13m per year. (Backup plan/also considered- Nick Perry) Brandon Williams- We need a big run stuffing NT. Poe is interesting to me, but his back scares me plus I think he could cost more. Like Ingram, Williams is also only 27 years old. 5 and 40 should do it, 8m per year. (Also considered Poe) Stephon Gilmore- Up and down last year, but very talented and great size. I think we take a crack at him, but it won’t come cheaply. He can be our #2 and allow us to focus on other positions in the draft. 4 and 40, 10m per year. Ron Leary- I would love to get Zeitler or trust in the young guys we have, but we need someone proven who won’t break the bank. He is 27 (there is a theme here) and wouldn’t be overly expensive. He should have low dead money in years 3 and 4. 4 and 18 should be sufficient, 4.5m per year. Step 4- THE 2017 NFL DRAFT- So I left 11m for our draft class and in season signings. Add to that another 4m that I didn’t spend in FA and we have 15m in cap space, with our class only counting for a projected 6.2m. Still leaves us with about 9m for some small transactions/carryover and a much improved roster. Rd1- Reuben Foster, ILB- Shoulder surgery coupled with the fact that he now can’t work out for teams could drop him. If so, I absolutely pull the trigger here and lock up the draft’s best ILB. If not, Barnett is my target. Rd2- TJ Watt, OLB- You can never have too many pass rushers. Can play right away on passing downs with Ingram. Rd3- Kareem Hunt, RB- Our RB of the future who can jump right in this year and contribute. Very good running and catching out of the backfield. Rd4- Josh Harvey-Clemons, S- Potential to be a stud SS but had some marijuana issues and was dismissed from Georgia before excelling at UL. I take a chance on him in round 4 Rd4- Malachi Dupre, WR- Talented but held back by lack of LSU passing attack. Size and length with decent speed, could be a nice target for Luck in time. Rd5- Connor Harris, ILB- Scrappy, motor never stops. Can play all 3 downs and will be at least a very solid ST contributor. Rd6- Austin Rehkow, P- Potential to be a very solid punter, handled kickoff duties in college and was a solid FG kicker (16-20 from 40+ the past 2 years). Best attribute was downing balls inside of the 10 (if our guys can actually handle that).