Ballard has been gaining praise among his peers because

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1 month 3 weeks ago #784 by liny195
liny195 created the topic: Ballard has been gaining praise among his peers because
of his amazing ability at finding great value in free-agency Ryan Grant Color Rush Jersey , a talent required to build great teams without sacrificing long term stability." />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyesHorizontal - WhiteStampede Bluean Indianapolis Colts communityLog In or Sign UpLog InSign UpFanpostsFanshotsColtsShopAboutMastheadCommunity GuidelinesStubHubMoreAll 322 blogs on Horizontal - WhiteFanposts Fanshots Colts StoriesScheduleRosterStatsYahoo Colts NewsYahoo Colts Team PageYahoo Colts ReportYahoo Colts Depth ChartYahoo Colts TransactionsYahoo Colts PhotosShop About Masthead Community Guidelines StubHub ✕How to get value in free-agency: A class given by Chris BallardNew,46commentsBallard has been gaining praise among his peers because of his amazing ability at finding great value in free-agency, a talent required to build great teams without sacrificing long term stability.EDTShareTweetShareShareHow to get value in free-agency: A class given by Chris BallardPhoto by Michael Reaves/Getty ImagesFree agents signed by Chris Ballard2017YearsTotal SalaryGuaranteed MoneyAverage Salary2017YearsTotal SalaryGuaranteed MoneyAverage SalaryChris Ballard might be the best GM to have in free-agency in the NFL. Not only does he avoid handing out big-time contracts that handcuff the franchise’s future, but he also seems to find great value in the second tier of free-agency, the period after all the blue-chip players have signed. After watching players that would have helped the Colts tremendously, like Trey Flowers, Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, Tyrell Williams, or Le’Veon Bell sign elsewhere, all while the Colts had the most cap space in the NFL by a mile, many fans were questioning whether Ballard had made the right decision avoiding to splurge on the big free-agent targets.Looking at his past track record, and the players he was able to sign relatively cheap in the second wave of free-agency, the answer is simply yes. Super Bowl winners are (avoiding some exceptions) simply not built through free-agency. All these so called “off-season winners” are being labeled as the next sensation teams in the NFL, while the Colts, flying under-the-radar, had an excellent free-agency, maybe even perfect if they manage to re-sign Inman for cheap. While mediocre teams like the Lions, Jets, Raiders https://www.coltsfanshop.com/Marshall-Faulk-Jersey , and Jaguars were giving out guaranteed money and long-term contracts like the Texans O-Line gives up sacks, the Colts sat quietly and waited for solid players to fall through the cracks. On his first off-season as the Colts general manager, Ballard invested heavily on the defensive line, with mixed results. Nose tackle Johnathan Hankins was the big name for the Colts. After a solid first season, he was cut mainly due to scheme fit. Because of how his contract was structured, (another great facet of Ballard) there was little to no dead money. Edge defender Jabaal Sheard has been solid in his two seasons with the Colts, being an average run defender and pass-rusher and perhaps the most consistent Colts player on the defensive line. With Houston drawing attention for him, he could explode for double digit sacks this year. Opposite edge defender John Simon looked like the Colts defensive MVP in the first 6 games of the 2017 season, but after going down with a neck injury, he was never the same and was later released, yet again, with nearly no dead money. Al Woods and Margus Hunt have been serviceable rotation pieces. Woods was not re-signed, as he is an extremely one-dimensional player and was getting old, and Hunt was resigned this off-season to a 2 year/$9 million deal with no guaranteed money after this season.For his sophomore season, Ballard truly knocked the ball out of the park. Last years Colts’ free-agency was one of the best in recent memory, considering how little the Colts gave out and the return they got. Denico Autry was signed from Oakland and had a remarkable season. He lead the team with 9 sacks and his versatility on the defensive line was very important down the line. Next is Eric Ebron, who has to be one of the best free-agent signings over the last decade. After struggling to start his career with the Lions, Ebron was signed on a cheap, two-year contract. Ebron exploded into the scene and asserted himself as a top 4 tight-end in the NFL. He recorded 66 receptions, 750 yards and an astounding 14 total touchdowns Eric Ebron Jersey , good for 5th in the League and tied with players such as Melvin Gordon or Tyreek Hill. Ryan Grant and Austin Howard did not pan out, but because they were signed on one-year contracts, there were no long-term ramifications. Matt Slauson had a solid start to the season, but then was put on IR and served as a mentor through the rest of the year.Entering his third off-season as the Colts GM, and after a playoff victory, many expected Ballard to shell out the big bucks and go guns blazing into free-agency, instead, he stayed true to his M.O and waited out the first frenzy, looking for the best value. He got it in the form of pass-rusher Justin Houston. A generational talent that can help the Colts right away. Even though he is 30, Houston is still a game-changer on defense with the potential to rack up double-digit sacks. Ballard also did an impeccable job at resigning talent already on the roster. Starting right guard Mark Glowinski had a fine season stepping up for injured Matt Slauson and was rewarded with a 3 year contract. In comparison, guard Rodger Saffold II received $44 million ($19M guaranteed) from the Titans. Pierre Desir was resigned for a cheap $7.5M a year, specially after his shutdown performance on DeAndre Hopkins in the playoffs. Clayton Geathers was also resigned on a one-year deal. The one odd signing Ballard made was giving wide receiver Devin Funchess a one-year $10M deal, as Funchess is a young, unpolished player who never really took off in the League.Overall, it is worth noting that Ballard never gave out a contract longer than 4 years or worth more than $20M in guaranteed money. With some big name players set to hit the open market, Ballard will be forced to hand out some important extensions in the next two years, so the cap space will be imperative for the Colts to help maintain their homegrown talent in Indy. All in all, Ballard is one of the best GMs in football for a reason, and his approach to free-agency should be copied by every team in the rest of the League. He has proven he won’t overpay for players that are asking for more than what the Colts consider they are worth, and he is also amazing at finding high-ceiling Matt Slauson Color Rush Jersey , talented players, without jeopardizing the team’s financial security. INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Malik Hooker looks around the Indianapolis Colts‘ newly renovated locker room and reflects on his long journey back to football.He smiles, he laughs nervously and, naturally, he’s a little anxious to test his surgically repaired right knee.The Colts’ starting safety has never faced such a severe injury or such a complex recovery, and the next step is seeing how it holds up in game conditions.“I’ll definitely be out there Saturday,” Hooker said. “Of course everybody has questions about ‘what if I’m not the player I need to be when I get back’ and stuff like that. But that’s where you’ve just got to be mentally tough and say that’s part of the plan to get back out there. I have no doubts.”Neither do the Colts.They’ve waited patiently and proceeded cautiously as their 2017 first-round pick works his way back, fully anticipating him to continue being the playmaker he flashed in the first seven weeks last season.General manager Chris Ballard considered Hooker, at 6-foot-1, 212 pounds,a perfect fit in his young secondary.He started all 13 games of his senior season at Ohio State; picked off seven passes; led the Football Bowl Subdivision by returning three for scores; helped the Buckeyes reach the College Football Playoff; and was selected a first-team All-American in 2016.And though he couldn’t work out at the NFL’s annual scouting combine because of hip and sports hernia surgeries, many regarded him as the top safety in the draft. Ballard had Hooker rated as the best athlete in the draft and when he slid to No. 15, Ballard wasted no time in making his selection.“He’s got a unique skill set. He’s got size. He’s got speed. He’s got great instincts and ball skills,” Ballard said of Hooker on draft night. “Guys that can take away the football are hard to find, and we think he can do that at this level.”Hooker certainly lived up to the billing early last season.He moved into the starting lineup in Week 2, picked off passes in each of his first three starts and appeared headed toward a huge rookie season — until a blindside block forced his knee to buckle as he was chasing Jacksonville receiver Allen Hurns down the sideline Oct. 22.Later that night, Hooker was diagnosed with torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, ending a promising rookie season. He spent the next seven months rehabbing, returned for on-the-field individual work in May, and opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Now https://www.coltsfanshop.com/Anthony-Walker-Jersey , three weeks after being activated, Hooker has been cleared for game duty and is expected to start against San Francisco.“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “For me to finally get out there and get cleared to be able to go out there and play on Saturday, it’s a great feeling.”Indy’s coaches are excited for another reason: Saturday marks the first time they’ll see their two projected starting safeties in a game. Hooker’s injury, coupled with Clayton Geathers‘ inability to return from neck surgery until late last season, meant the projected pairing never had a chance to work together.But as both recovered from knee surgeries during the offseason, they worked together, challenged one another and raced to come back. Geathers got there first, making his preseason debut in Monday night’s loss to Baltimore.Now, Hookier finally is about to join him.“They have what we talked about, the instincts and the strike and the speed and all those things, and the quickness,” new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus said. “And those guys, as they get playing with the system and with other guys in the unit, we should see them blossom. We should see them really take off and see them make really impactful plays that will change the game for our team.”Hooker believes he will be as good as new, and working in unison with Geathers will make the Colts a better defense. All he wants to do now is prove he’s back.“I feel like this organization knows what I bring to the table and I know what their standard is for me to bring to the table,” Hooker said. “So I’m just going to go out there and continue to do whatever I can to help this team win.”NOTES: The Colts signed free agent defensive tackle Brandon Banks and placed receiver Matt Hazel on the waived-injured list. If Hazel clears waivers, he will go on injured reserve.

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