If you were looking for in depth film breakdown, or one of my opponent scouting reports, or even a Colts-centric article, you’ve arrived at the wrong article. Welcome to the weekly conspiracy report where I, Chris Shepherd, will examine nefarious plots around the league and expose them for what they are. Now sure, I won’t be able to provide you any “proof” and no I don’t have any sources (that you know of). What follows should be treated purely as entertainment that include plausible (and not so plausible) scenarios that no one employed by NFL teams would ever admit to, I accept no responsibility for anything you do with the information I’m about to give you. In fact I accept no responsibility for anything you’re about to read, at all.
In this week four exposé of NFL conspiratorial glory we’re going to take a look at how Le’Veon Bell is saving himself for the Colts and the evidence that points to Chris Ballard asking him to do so.
Theory: Chris Ballard is working with Le’Veon Bell to bring the elite running back to the Colts
This is a theory less about the why either man would do it and more about how they’ve done it and the evidence that supports it.
What if I told you everything you think you know about what Chris Ballard is looking for in a free agent is wrong? What if I told you Chris Ballard is planning on opening Jim Irsay’s checkbook in a big way in 2019? What if I told you that Chris Ballard has been preparing us all for Le’veon Bell’s eventual arrival?
By now most of us probably think we understand how Chris Ballard is going to treat free agency: spend little, give no guaranteed money and build through the draft. That’s what I have assumed too. The thing that I like most about Chris Ballard is the fact that if you actually listen to what he says and you read between the lines, just a little, he’s going to tell you what he’s planning on doing.
Until now we’ve heard Ballard talk often about building through the draft and spending in ways that make sense but what Chris Ballard said starting at the 13:00 minute mark in this interview with Pat McAfee is interesting. When asked if he would ever bring in big name free agents if they fit the system and culture:
I think the one thing we want to do, we’ve got to get the locker room where the culture is strong so anybody we do bring in the building we can absorb. And they teach them the culture. And that’s important, especially as young as we are right now, we want it to where these young players, when we decide, and look I’m not against going out and signing a big free agent, Mr. Irsay’s not against, but we wanna be smart...
Look everybody gets excited the fans get excited and then you gotta go play football, and then you see the real results... being excited in March and April does not win games in November and December. Your players, that locker room, the men you bring in that locker room the culture that you have...
Ballard goes on a lot of tangents, but there are a lot of nuggets in here. First he talks a lot about building culture, directly following this answer Ballard and Reich discuss how they plan to have a tough team and how they plan to have that. Staring down week four it seems pretty obvious they’ve gone out and added guys who exemplify that culture starting with this guy:
So the Colts have begun to build the culture they’re after, they have the guys in the locker room that are beginning to guide the locker room in that direction. So what does that say about about what Ballard said about bringing in free agents?
It says that while the team wasn’t ready to absorb those personalities this year with a team full of young guys and a locker room culture that needed to be built, it says that the team will be ready to add those big free agents very soon.
So how do we get to Le’Veon Bell? Well that’s really simple:
It could just be a coincidence but this is now the 2nd time I have seen Le'Veon Bell comment on something #Colts related on Instagram. First time was about Luck's return. I'll enjoy the 2018 season but this will be in the back of my mind for the 2019 Free Agent period. pic.twitter.com/ahHt9bjXjD— Cody Manning (@CodyTalksNFL) August 6, 2018
Le'Veon Bell once again, eyeing Andrew Luck and the Colts. pic.twitter.com/w0REzfcuCZ— Indy SportsOne ⚡ (@IndySportsOne) August 9, 2018
How much longer until the Colts trade a second-round pick for Le’Veon Bell? pic.twitter.com/pO6UR6AO4c— Evan Sidery (@esidery) September 12, 2018
Le’Veon Bell is telling us he wants to play for the Colts and it makes sense, he would upgrade the running back position, he would get to play with a good quarterback and the Colts have a ton of cap space. But if that’s all he’s looking for why isn’t he commenting on the Jets, Texans, Browns or 49ers Instagram posts? All of these teams have promising young quarterbacks, Bell would be an upgrade and the 49ers are the only team who will have less than $85 million in open cap space heading into 2019 and the 9ers will still have $69 million.
Yes, the Colts have the most cap space but any of those teams could sign him and fit that criteria, yet he’s focused on the Colts, why? Because Chris Ballard has clearly informed Bell of his intention to sign him in the off season.
Le’Veon Bell told all of his teammates leading up to the season that he would be back with the team before week one, so when he didn’t make good on his word his teammates were naturally upset. So what changed for Bell? Why would he tell everyone one thing and then do another?
What if a rival company reached out to you and promised to make you wealthy beyond your wildest dreams as long a you figured out a way to call in sick for the rest of the year and come in fresh and ready in the spring? Would you do it?
Yeah, I would too. Seems like a win, win.
Sure, Le’Veon probably knew that the Steelers were going to run him into the ground this year but unless he had some kind of assurance from someone, pulling this move, one that makes him look like a bad teammate could mean he could be forced to take a contract much smaller than the one the Steelers would have offered.
Instead it makes far more sense that somehow, someway Chris Ballard sat back and looked at his team and he liked what was developing in the locker room. He liked what he saw from his coaches. He liked the youth and the atmosphere that has been created on West 56th street. He sat back and looked at what he has created this far and realized that he was a few play makers short of a championship caliber team. He realized this and then he realized if he could get one of those play makers in the upcoming free agency period and add two or three more with the three picks the Colts will have in the first two rounds of the 2019 draft, if he could do that, the Colts are instant contenders.
We know Chris Ballard always has a plan, he’s talked about his binders quite a bit actually. I think it’s obvious that Chis Ballard opened up his 2019 free agency binder and on the first page is this man’s face:
If you’re wondering about possible issues with the NFL’s tampering rules, oh grow up! It’s simple, Ballard just has to mention to his agent (Bob LaMonte) how he wants to pay Bell an obscene amount of money in 2019 as long as Bell sits the year out so he can give the Colts everything he’s got and Ballard’s agent calls up Bell’s agent (Adisa Bakari) and tells him a “funny story” he heard about his client that day. One thing leads to another and Le’Veon Bell is making googly eyes at every single Instagram post the Indianapolis Colts put up.
Oh and trades? Don’t worry about a trade, Bell would have to agree to a contract and I’m sure Bakari could just give LaMonte a call and the two old friends could swap stories until Bell is convinced he just isn’t going to play this year.
Ladies and gentlemen the starting running back for the 2019 Indianapolis Colts will be Le’Veon Bell, just as Chis Ballard planned it.
*Once again, please note this article is purely meant for entertainment and the conversation it can create. Chris Shepherd may or may not actually believe anything above. By looking at current events through alternative viewpoints we hope to come away with a better understanding of what we’re seeing by considering something we’ve never considered. Worst case? We have a lot of fun with conspiracy theories and turn on old episodes of the X-Files while wearing our tin-foil hats.
Links to the previous weeks conspiracies: