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Chris Ballard Explains Colts’ Draft Trade, Lack of Free Agent Spending

So, how about that trade?!

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On Saturday, the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets pulled off a blockbuster draft trade that sent the Colts’ No. 3 overall pick to the Jets for pick 1-06, 2-37 and 2-49 in this year’s draft as well as the Jets’ second-round pick in 2019.

The Colts were in an incredible position in the draft, being that they were the only team among the top six picks that wasn’t looking for a quarterback, and there are about four quarterbacks who could go near the top of the draft (could see up to six in the first round). As teams jockey for draft position, the Colts were in a spot where other teams would love to acquire their third overall pick so that they could try and land their quarterback.

Shortly after the trade was announced, the Colts posted a conversation with the man pulling the strings for the Colts, general manager Chris Ballard. He explained how the trade developed into a reality as well as why the Colts have been so quiet in free agency.

Stephen Holder of The Indianapolis Star transcribed the conversation, making it easier to dissect and follow along:

Ballard on how the trade happened:

We had been, since Monday and Tuesday, been kind of back and forth with the Jets about moving back. They had an interest to move up to three. We kind of went back and forth for the last four or five days. We talked to a couple other teams, but we still wanted to stay in that top position in that top 10 where we could still get a premium player. We feel at six, we’ll still be able to acquire a premium player. Plus, being able to pick up the two twos this year and the two next year, that gives up four picks in the top 50 picks of the draft and then three next year — one in the first and two in the second. It gives us a chance to really replenish our young talent and start building a core of young talent like we need to do.

Ballard on if the Colts could continue swapping draft picks:

We’re still open. We’ll still be open if the right opportunity presents itself at six to move down, but right now we feel pretty good. It would have to be a pretty attractive offer for us to move away from six because of the player we think we’re going to get.

Ballard on why the Colts haven’t been active in signing new free agents this week:

We looked at free agency and we just didn’t feel like we were at a point to where we wanted to add some of the guys at the price that they were at. And we need to add some young talent to this roster. So, the ability to have seven players here in the next two years that are all going to be first and second-round picks was attractive to us. I’ve said it since I walked in the door: You want to build with your own players. You want draft and develop your own guys. That’s how you build a lasting organization and a team that grows together. And that’s important to us.

For more context on what this trade means for everybody involved, check out our Alex Jacobson’s breakdown here.