A pattern is forming. As much as anyone can appreciate predictability, some of the patterns have changed for a Colts franchise that went through nearly two decades of stability. The new pattern is that each year there is a new quarterback, from projects to reclamation stories, to grizzled veterans looking for a chance to compete in the twilight of their careers.
Another pattern is what is perceived to be a rather slow or boring approach to free agency. Big names and big contracts make headlines but Colts General Manager Chris Ballard doesn’t flinch.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams have recently spoiled a broadly accepted NFL truth. Namely, teams build through the draft and from within. Major free agency signings and blockbuster trades have tipped the scales in what has become one of the most active franchise arms races in memory — especially in the AFC.
Some Colts fans cling to a belief that there are long-term consequences for free-wheeling in free agency, with massive contracts driving up market prices during the initial free agency flurry. You can only rob Peter to pay Paul for so long, after all, until you end up eating $40M to trade away the best quarterback in your team’s history.
Others are starting to believe that the salary cap or long-term consequences are nothing but a mirage. The rich get richer, and the teams without salary cap space sign new players to big deals anyway.
If the whole thing can be manipulated each year and if the cap continues to grow, who cares? Perhaps as important, if you have a window now (and it seems the Colts are entering one now) maybe risking some consequences in the future is worth the rewards of putting it on the line to win now?
The following poll questions will help Colts fans share their perspective on the state of the franchise, its short-term future with Matt Ryan, Ballard’s free agency approach, and how to fill roster holes moving forward.
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