What Does Landon Collins To The Redskins Say About Chris Ballard And The Colts?
Joe Robbins | Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS – Not even the NFL’s most amount of cap space is going to get Chris Ballard to change his beliefs.
We saw that again on Monday, when news broke on the astronomical contract numbers being handed out to safety Landon Collins.
The Washington Redskins and Collins have reportedly agreed to a 6-year, $84 million deal, with the first three years guaranteed at $45 million. That deal cannot become official until the new league year begins on Wednesday.
It’s an eye-popping number, from a years and annual standpoint, for a position that was not viewed highly at all on the open market last offseason.
Before Monday, several factors played into the believed interest between the Colts and Collins.
But that contract from the Redskins ended the Colts trying to acquire Collins again.
In making $14 million annually, Collins would have become the second highest paid player on the Colts (second to Andrew Luck) and the 6-year contract would be double any that Ballard has given out so far as general manager.
Seeing that contract quickly drummed up the thought of this Ballard quote from earlier in 2019 when asked about his ‘aggressiveness’ in free agency.
“I guess I disagree sometimes when everybody says we are not aggressive in free agency,” the third-year GM said. “Denico Autry, we targeted from day one and we signed him. Denico Autry ended up being a pretty good player. Just because it might not be who the media is writing about and who the fans are talking about, that doesn’t mean that guy isn’t a really good player. Jabaal Sheard, Margus Hunt, I mean these were all free agent signings that we brought in here.
The Colts are extremely stringent in sticking to the value they have placed on any player in free agency.
Bidding wars are not going to be common practice for Ballard.
If he feels the asking price has gotten too high, he has shown (and showed again on Monday) the restraint to take a step back, and believe in his scouting department to find another answer.
At safety, does that now mean definitely re-signing Clayton Geathers and going after another ‘second tier’ safety, with the deep pool this free agency? Ballard acknowledged that possibility at the Combine. You still have safeties in Earl Thomas (Seahawks), Adrian Amos (Bears), Tyrann Mathieu (Texans) and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Bears) all hitting the open market.
Some sort of action, in free agency or the draft, is going to be needed at safety. This deal from Collins is music to the ears of the other safeties hitting free agency this week, which could turn some GMs to the draft to find their answer at that position.
Ballard has stated before that safety is a very important position in Matt Eberflus’ defense.
But that doesn’t supersede the overall belief of Ballard when it comes to roster building.
When the news of Collins going to the Redskins broke on Monday, the social media chirpers began of disagreeing with Ballard’s overall principle when it comes to free agency.
Early in his tenure, Ballard has earned the benefit of the doubt with how he goes about things this time of year.
Still, it’s so rare to see a young defensive playmaker, like Collins, get to the open market. Passing on him means the Colts will move on to another avenue in trying to improve a position group that needs attention this offseason.
Ballard showed his usual patience and has once again let his actions back up his words.
For his actions to win again in 2019, he continues to put pressure on the draft (which worked brilliantly last year) and other levels of free agency to make sure his defense takes the necessary jump.