Mailbag: Should The Colts Trade For Dee Ford?
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INDIANAPOLIS – Readers of 1070TheFan.com can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our mailbag.
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Here is the collection of Friday questions:
Juan (Bogota, Colombia)
Hey Kevin. First of all Congrats On your wedding and all the best in this new stage of your life. Welcome back. First I would like to know if you think Ballard Go after one of the second-tier free agents for pass rush help, Just as expected the first tier got franchised. Who do you like the most from this group? My second question why do you think Ballard and Reich Still believe They can survive without another good wide receiver and then day can Do it just with scheming, Even though they said it won’t happen in the playoffs and against the patriots. Personally I believe is a must. Thank you as always And look forward to this weeks podcast.
Bowen: Thanks, Juan! 1. Well, the franchise tag deadline has passed and at least one upper tier free agent rusher didn’t get tagged. New England’s Trey Flowers has had three straight years of 6.5 to 7.5 sacks. I don’t know if you classify him in the ‘first tier’ of free agent rushers though. For listeners of my podcast, they know my affinity for doing homework on Dante Fowler. That’s a young pass rusher, who is a former top-five pick. Such players, at that position, just don’t hit the open market very often. In a way, it’s similar to the Colts inking Eric Ebron last year, after the tight end was cut by the Lions. I’m guessing Ballard would be more inclined to go down this route. 2. I just think they have a lot of confidence in Reich’s scheme and Ballard has said publicly before that the need for an elite receiver isn’t the most important thing, if you have playmakers around him. Look, they would still like to bolster the talent at wideout. I just don’t think they hold it in same regard as maybe I do, or others do.
Jesse (Jasper, IN)
Hey Kevin, I see Dee Ford has been franchised tagged, however the Chiefs may be willing to trade him for a 2nd round pick. Considering that we have 2 second rounds picks, do you think this would be a good trade for us? Since Kansas City is worried about him fitting into the new 4-3 defensive, should we be concerned for that same issue? Is the value of our pick worth the risk?
Bowen: We had a couple of Ford questions in this week’s mailbag. That last question is what we need to focus on. What does Chris Ballard believe the value is for a player like Dee Ford transitioning to a 4-3 defense? Ballard is so stringent on setting specific values on players, based off the scheme that the Colts play. You are probably going to find some 3-4 system teams more inclined to acquire Ford for a second-round pick. Now, the Colts play a 4-3, but history in this scheme shows pure rush ends, even those just over 250 pounds (Ford is 6-2 and 252 pounds) can have tremendous success. This isn’t some old school 4-3 defense that needs 270-pound ends out there on every down. If the Colts do make such a trade, Ballard has to be content with giving up such a pick, for a 27-year-old rusher who might not be the ideal fit on early downs. If I’m Ballard, I think pick No. 34 might be too high for Ford. But pick No. 59 could be in the cards. My hunch tells me the Colts hold off, if the price is the earlier second-round pick (No. 34 from the Jets). But you better make sure you hit on a pass rusher with one of those first two picks late next month.
Patrick (Rensselaer, IN)
With the abnormally large amount of depth at D-line and WR in this draft do you think it is possible the Colts trade back out of the 1st round to a team looking to get that 5th year for a QB? If not, could they look to add Josh Jacobs at RB who many scouts have as a Top-5 talent and solidify the position and fill WR and D-Line later in rounds 2,3 and 4?
Bowen: I understand the question, Patrick, but I don’t think I’m in the trade out of the first round group. To me, you need to continue to find players that can become Pro Bowl/All-Pro type talent. Certainly, the earlier you draft, the better odds of that happening. Let’s use the dart analogy. I want to throw the best quality darts I can, not just a bunch of darts from a quanity standpoint. And I’m definitely not taking a running back that early. No way. You can’t continue to ignore the more major needs you have in the pass rush and receiver departments.
What are the chances that Wesley Matthews returns next season for the Pacers? I’ve loved the way he’s fit in, but many believe that he is only here to prove he’s worthy of starting elsewhere.
Bowen: When Matthews was first signed, I would have said no chance he would be brought back. A 32-year-old shooting guard looking for one more NBA contract is not a fit for the Pacers moving forward, in my opinion. But after watching Matthews play, I’ve grown a bit towards the middle on my stance about his future. I still probably wouldn’t bring him back, but you need some insurance at the 2-guard with Victor Oladipo’s murky injury situation and Tyreke Evans hitting free agency. The Pacers are expected to have around $50 million in cap space this summer, but they need that to fill at least 3-4 major spots with that money, unless you are banking on the unproven young guys seeing their roles skyrocket next season. I still would put it around 20-30% chance he’s back. But, like I mentioned above, you need to find some depth at that 2-guard spot this summer. I just don’t think a 32-year-old, who was eager for the shots available to him in the post-Oladipo era this season, is the ideal answer come July.
Hunter (Anaheim, CA)
If we were to play the Celtics in the first round, do you see us winning that series?
Bowen: If I were going to Vegas tomorrow and had to make a bet on the first-round opponent for the Pacers, I’d go with the Celtics. I’d also probably take the Celtics in 6 games. I know fans won’t love hearing that, but that’s my opinion. The Celtics have looked a bit lost, to be honest, here as of late, although beating the Warriors quieted that. Maybe I’m naïve, but I just have to think they get their act together enough to beat the Pacers in Round One, even if they have to go on the road. It’s not like Brad Stevens forgot how to coach. One might argue that the Celtics would have 5 of the top 7 most talented players in that series. The Pacers would love this motivation if this series happens, but I still haven’t seen this team beat upper-level playoff teams consistently enough, without Oladipo, to pick them confidently against a talented Celtics team.
Zach (Lincoln, NE)
With the recent rumors that Landon Collins and CJ Mosley aren't expected to be franchise tagged, do you think the Colts will realistically try to go after either? Any other free agent names you expect the Colts to take a shot at?
Bowen: To me, things add up in the right direction for the Colts pursuing a Landon Collins. Sure, Chris Ballard will have some ceiling from a contract standpoint, but I just don’t think you can ignore such a defensive playmaker hitting free agency. You don’t have a HUGE need at safety, but that position could use some upgrading and a healthier option alongside Malik Hooker. With Mosley, this one is a bit more difficult to me. Similar to safety, linebacker isn’t a massive need this offseason, but some bolstering shouldn’t be ignored, if the right opportunity presents itself. I feel like Mosley will garner a market just a tad too big for the Colts’ liking. Plus, you do have the intriguing young draft picks in Darius Leonard and Anthony Walker, and even Matthew Adams or Zaire Franklin. Now, Mosley is obviously a better player than the likes of Adams or Franklin, but the contracts don’t even come close to being on the same level. Next week should give us a clearer picture on how the Colts will go about the pursuit of free agents.
David (Fort Wayne, IN)
Don't the Colts have a required amount of money to spend to get over the 89%? In first two years, they've only averaged 65% so they HAVE to spend this season to keep from going crazy next year before the 4-year window is up, right?
Bowen: Great minds think alike, David. I asked Chris Ballard this very question back in January. You can find his answer. Basically, Chris Ballard isn’t worried about hitting that cash floor. Remember, the 89% mark is for cash spending. That article I linked has your answer.
Dustyn (Wheatfield, IN)
Trey Flowers is obviously a good pass rusher, but lines up all along the d line. Do you think he is as valuable as a pure edge rusher? Do you think he's worth the contract he will demand as a free agent, and would he take a step back in a system other than the Patriots? Enjoy the pod thanks.
Bowen: This is a really good question, Dustyn. Like we mentioned above, I’m not sure if Flowers falls in the top tier of pure, elite, pass rushers. To me, he’s more of a Jabaal Sheard---a very consistent rusher, who should be known for his ability to play on multiple downs. In the last three years, Flowers’ sack numbers have been: 7.0, 6.5 and 7.5. The early chatter seems to be Flowers meriting a contract in the $17 million department. Over the last few weeks, I’ve maybe come down a bit on my thinking about Flowers. I still think he’s an upgrade over anything the Colts have currently, but not sure he’s worth such a huge price in free agency. It would be hard to sit out the upper echelon free agency pass rush pool, if Flowers is indeed the top guy, but I could see Ballard doing it. This will be one of the tougher debates for Ballard and the Colts this month.
Do you imagine McMillan ever using Evans as the point in shot minutes? A big lineup of Evans, Matthews, Bojan, Thad, Turner/Sabonis
Bowen: I can’t see it. McMillan is a huge fan of Cory Joseph and Darren Collison, so I just can’t see lineups with both of them off the floor down the stretch. Unless Tyreke Evans was having a game reminiscent of his earlier days in the NBA, he’s not the steady/reliable point guard while also being able to match-up with other smaller/quicker guards on the defensive end of the floor. Maybe the playoffs lead to wackier lineups, but I can’t see McMillan going to such a group.