Ballard is prepared to "tank"... and I don't mind

When I say tanking, I don't mean losing on purpose, but they are doing what bad teams do when they "tank". They play their young guys to let them develop and see what they have. More on that in a minute.

Like many of you, I was so frustrated when Ballard and the Colts completely ignored free agency outside of a few mid tier guys. But there is a pretty obvious reason as I take everything in now. Here is Ballard's strategy, and he is prepared to make all 3 happen:

1.) Protect Luck. He added 2 starting guards in the draft, regardless of what you think of Smith. Both are strong, fundamentally sound and will help protect Luck. If Luck plays, he should stay upright and play well if healthy, but our D will be awful and our skill players are really lacking, so I think we are a middle of the pack team with a healthy Luck and a pretty poor team without a healthy Luck.

2.) Develop young guys. Had we kept Melvin and Hankins, or went after obvious talent like Norwell, Robinson, Hyde, etc. that would have been nice, but it would have kept younger guys like Smith, Lewis, Hynes, Basham, Cain, etc. from developing. Ballard wants our young guys to develop and since we were not a championship team regardless of who we signed, we might as well let them get better while they are cheap vs. keep solid to good vets on the team that will be at the end of their deal by the time we are hopefully good enough to win it all.

3.) Ballard is prepared if Luck is done. Elephant in the room I know, but there is a chance Luck does not come back at all or doesn't come back the same. I personally THINK he will come back, shake off the rust, and play another decade, but I really have no idea. And neither does Ballard or Irsay or anyone else, no matter what they say. If Luck doesn't play or can't play well this year, our supporting cast is young/bad enough to get us another top pick. Is that what we want? Not at all, but not signing solid FA's and cutting/letting go of Melvin and Hankins is a step toward ensuring we don't overachieve. Don't let scheme talk convince you that is why Hankins was let go. If that is the case, why is Woods still here? Cuz it's his last year (Woods), he doesn't cost nearly as much (and we can roll Hankins salary over) and Woods isn't going to help us like Hankins would. I'm not saying Hankins was great, but he was easily our best DL and our interior DL is now very young and below average where it was actually pretty decent last year.

Bottom line, if Luck is healthy, has a solid year and we win 7 or 8 while our young guys develop and learn Reich's system, I think we go after some premier players in free agency 2019 while filling in a lot less holes in the 2019 draft and start to make some noise. On the other hand, if Luck is done or plays and it becomes obvious he is not the same, we will be in position to draft high and go after our QB of the future. Either way, we will have a ton of cap space and a franchise QB or a ton of cap space and high picks, and have some young talent in Hooker/Wilson/Nelson/Smith, etc. to boot. Really a pretty smart move by Ballard to stay out of Free Agency in the long term, even though it will be a rough year or 2. While Ballard doesn't want to suck, I think even worse is to have a average team with no QB and thus stay in NFL purgatory where you are too good to get a top draft pick but not good enough to make any noise.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.