Colts, Chris Ballard staying true to form as $$$ flows in NFL


Colts GM Chris Ballard

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Midway through the NFL’s two-day, pre-free agency negotiating period and the Indianapolis Colts have been more gawkers than stalkers.

Their only agreement has been with former Carolina wide receiver Devin Funchess on a one-year, $10 million contract that includes another possible $3 million through incentives.

Considering what has happened elsewhere, Funchess’ deal is a ripple in the middle of the ocean.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to Chris Ballard. On one hand, the Colts general manager revealed he wasn’t averse to investing heavily under the right circumstances.

“If we think it’s the best thing for our team,’’ he said at the recent NFL Scouting Combine, “we will always try to do the right thing. So if we see a player, even if we have a good player at the position but we think, ‘Hey, this guy is one to put us over the top,’ we’ll make the move.’’’

That might have been an inadvertent tease to the fan base.

As it turns out, the Colts once again have looked on as a slew of mega-contracts has been doled out. Ballard has put out feelers on several players, but determined the asking price simply wasn’t worth the investment.

In case you missed Ballard’s personnel-driving/signing tenet, listen up.

“We put a value on a player,’’ he said. “When it gets out of our reach, I just think we are comfortable enough to sleep at night saying that we are going to find an answer.’’

Like it or not.

It’s our expectation that, once again, Ballard will become more active once the stratospheric contracts give way to more reasonable deals. Remember Denico Autry and Eric Ebron? Or Jabaal Sheard?

That in mind, here’s a look at some of the NFL’s early lottery winners, many of whom had been linked to the Colts by various national media types. The magnitude of the contracts tells you all you need to know as to the reason Indy wasn’t involved at the end.


  • Previous team: New York Giants
  • New team: Washington Redskins
  • Contract: 6 years, $84 million, $45 million guaranteed.

ANTONIO BROWN, wide receiver

  • Previous team: Pittsburgh Steelers
  • New team: Oakland Raiders
  • Deal: Traded to Raiders, Steelers received 3rd- and 5th- round draft picks.
  • Contract: Raiders reworked Brown’s three-year deal; $54.125 million with $30 million guaranteed.

C.J. MOSLEY, linebacker

  • Previous team: Baltimore Ravens
  • New team: New York Jets
  • Contract: 5 years, $85 million, $51 million guaranteed.

TREY FLOWERS, linebacker/defensive end

  • Previous team: New England Patriots
  • New team: Detroit Lions
  • Contract: 5 years, $90 million, $40 million guaranteed.

ZA’DARIUS SMITH, defensive end

  • Previous team: Baltimore Ravens
  • New team: Green Bay Packers
  • Contract: 4 years, $66 million.

PRESTON SMITH, linebacker

  • Previous team: Washington Redskins
  • New team: Green Bay Packers
  • Contract: 4 years, $52 million, $16 million guaranteed.

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