The Indianapolis Colts are still a couple of weeks away from the start of their offseason program and a couple of months away from the start of training camp, but this past week at the NFL owners meetings Colts GM Chris Ballard offered a bit of insight as to another move we should expect from the Colts this offseason: adding a fourth quarterback.
Why? Because that’s simply the way Chris Ballard has always done it.
“You can’t have enough good players at that position, much like any position, but that one we all know how important and critical it is,” Ballard said, according to Colts.com’s Kevin Bowen. “Everywhere I’ve been, we’ve always taken four [into training camp] and that will be our plan going forward.”
Currently, the Colts have Andrew Luck as their starter with Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris as the backups. They’ve been comfortable with three quarterbacks in past offseasons and camp, but it sounds like Ballard likes having four players at the position. That makes sense given his emphasis on competition, and earlier this offseason the Colts were reportedly exploring the backup quarterback market.
Another factor, however, is the injury situation of Andrew Luck. Though Jim Irsay and the Colts maintain that Luck will be ready to go for the 2017 season, there has been no clear timetable for when he’ll return. He’s likely to miss most (if not all) of the offseason program, and could miss some time in training camp too. So having an extra quarterback could be especially important this year to ensure that the Colts have enough guys at the position while Luck recovers.
There are some notable quarterbacks still available on the free agent market, such as Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler, but I wouldn’t expect the Colts to go after one of those bigger name players. More likely, the Colts will make a move for a low-money free agent or rookie and bring him in to compete. Scott Tolzien did a solid job stepping in for Luck on a short week last year against the Steelers, but he’ll have to win his job just like everyone else with Ballard’s competition mandate.
So ultimately, while the Colts possibly would have added a fourth quarterback anyway with Luck’s injury, it seems like that’s just a part of Chris Ballard’s M.O. Though we don’t know who the Colts will add, we should expect them to bring in a fourth quarterback at some point this offseason.