The Colts have some serious issues. With rumors of coach Chuck Pagano’s job being in jeopardy, the trade they made last week with Philadelphia could be exactly what Indianapolis needs to get their franchise back on course.
When Chris Ballard of the Indianapolis Colts made the decision to trade for Carson Wentz last summer, he believed he was obtaining a franchise quarterback for the first time since Andrew Luck. Sure, Frank Reich, the Colts’ head coach, was a big fan of Wentz and urged their front management to make the move. Ballard, on the other hand, had the last word.
Ballad not only made the move, but he also gave up a first-round selection in the process. It was a game-changing choice to put all of Indiana’s eggs in Wentz’s basket.
Now that Wentz is on his way to play for the Washington Commanders, the Indianapolis Colts are still without a viable quarterback answer. Ballard’s decision-making process over the last several seasons needs to be investigated further.
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Chris Ballard failed miserably in his attempt to assemble a successful club around Carson Wentz.
Carson Wentz | Getty Images/Carmen Mandato
Before getting into the nitty gritty of the Carson Wentz-to-Washington deal, it’s important to note that Ballard never looked totally committed to the concept of constructing a team around his new quarterback in the first place. Last summer, Ballard was unable to get a genuine WR1 for Wentz, and the team began the season with an elderly and injured Eric Fisher at left tackle.
By the conclusion of the season, the offensive line was barely holding up, and Wentz’s only reliable pass-catcher was Michael Pittman Jr. The Colts might have easily ended below.500 if it hadn’t been for RB Jonathan Taylor’s remarkable year on the ground.
Ballard never put all his eggs in the “win now” basket, even giving up a first-round pick and almost $30 million in cap space to get Wentz. In retrospect, this was Ballard’s first major blunder. He should never have traded for Wentz in the first place if he didn’t trust in him as a championship-caliber quarterback.
In the end, the Colts were robbed of draft selections.
Full terms: Commanders get: QB Carson Wentz.#Colts get: This year’s third rounder and next year’s third rounder that can convert to a 2nd based on last year’s incentives.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2022
Looking at the circumstances of Wentz’s trade to Washington, it’s evident that the Colts have been ripped off during the last two offseasons.
In order to get Wentz in 2021, Ballard had to give up a first-round pick and a third-round pick. He just got rid of Wentz in exchange for two third-round picks and a second-round selection. That’s a valuable first-round selection that’s been thrown away.
The good news for the Colts is that they are no longer responsible for Wentz’s exorbitant contract, and they were able to recuperate some draft capital in the process. Ballard, on the other hand, set draft selections on fire and has nothing to show for it when looking at the whole series of deals as one big transaction.
That’s some dreadful general manager work from a guy who has long been regarded as one of the game’s most talented executives.
What’s next for the Colts now that Wentz is gone?
For the Colts, it won’t just be five quarterbacks in five years; they’ll have six different Week 1 starting stretching back six years:
Scott Tolzien, 2017 Andrew Luck in 2018 Jacoby Brissett (2019) Philip Rivers, 2020 Carson Wentz in 2021 ??? 2022:
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) March 9, 2022
To make things worse for Ballard, finding a plausible route to a franchise quarterback this summer is difficult. Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers had previously passed over. It’s also difficult to see the Houston Texans selling Deshaun Watson to a divisional foe.
The biggest name still on the market is Jimmy Garoppolo. He is, however, a rather restricted passer. Over the last several seasons, the San Francisco 49ers have tried diligently to disguise his deficiencies.
In the end, Ballard is to blame for the Colts’ complete mishandling of the matter. Unless Indy has a miracle 2022 season, one may legitimately conclude his seat is getting a bit heated.
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