According to general manager Chris Ballard, the Indianapolis Colts and the franchise’s young core—the majority of whose players are still under the age of 26 years old, haven’t actually had their ‘window open’ yet for Super Bowl contention—despite what everyone’s been saying so far this offseason.
In fact, such a window might only just be starting to crack open—while Ballard also acknowledged that there’s still work to be done (via 107.5 The Fan’s ‘The Dan Dakich Show’):
“Well, we have work to do still,” Ballard said on Friday afternoon. “We have a lot of good players. We have a lot of good young players on this team under the age of 26, which is exciting. I mean when you just go down the list, so we’ve got a good core base.”
“We still have work to do. I mean the Castonzo retirement. You know Philip Rivers retiring.”
“Do I think we have a lot of talent? Yes. Do I think we’re a Super Bowl team right now? No. There’s too many questions in play here, but we’ve got time. I mean we have free agency. We have the draft. We don’t play until September 9th or 10th. There’s a lot of time between now and then.”
“. . . When you look at our roster. When you look at the young (players), the Buckners. The Quenton Nelsons. The Darius Leonards. The Braden Smiths. The Nyheim Hines. The Jonathan Taylors. The Michael Pittmans. Grover (Stewart). (Julian) Blackmon.”
“We’ve got a lot of good, young players under the age of 26 that are, like everyone keeps saying we’re in our window. We’re not in our window. It might be cracking, but we’ve got a good young team. Now, do we have work to do? Damn right we have work to do, but we’re always going to have work to do. There’s no perfect team in this league, but I have a lot of confidence in our group.”
What’s made this Colts team so compelling going forward is that there’s a lot of young core players on both sides of the football that have helped propel them into becoming one of the league’s most complete, well-rounded teams already—with a lot of room remaining for future growth and development.
Right now, the Colts might just be a dynamic starting quarterback upgrade (and a few key pieces, namely left tackle and pass rusher) from seriously competing for the Super Bowl.
Fortunately for the Colts, as Ballard pointed out, there’s plenty of time to still shore up those critical positions through free agency, the draft, and even trades this offseason.
However, the Colts have a very promising foundation that is set up well for perennial deep AFC playoff success—and with the right calculated moves, maybe even to hoist up an elusive Lombardi Trophy or two in the foreseeable future.
While keeping those young core players together will be an ongoing challenge, the Colts have managed the team’s salary cap very well—with a lot of remaining flexibility to retain their top homegrown talent.
The Colts’ clock for contention isn’t running out.
In fact, the window might just be cracking open.