INDIANAPOLIS – Free agency is two and a half weeks old and Chris Ballard is a man of his word.
Ballard, who was entering his first ever free agency as an NFL general manager, stressed the need to add competition throughout his roster earlier this offseason.
He's done that with 10 outside free agent signings, the most the Colts have had in team history. The free agents brought in address every position except quarterback and cornerback. How active were the Colts this month? Consider that from 2003-11, the Colts signed a grand total of 10 free agents.
While Ballard didn't hesitate in trying to re-tool his roster, the GM stayed away from any mega contracts.
Short-term deals were a theme of the 10 newcomers, front-loading contracts with prove-it deals, and shying away from serious bidding wars with bigger named free agents.
Nearly two months into being the Colts General Manager, Ballard sat down with Inside Indiana Business to explain what it's like being *the *guy now making the decisions.
"When you are in kind of the medium sized chair underneath, you don't have the day to day little things that pop up," Ballard explained of now being a GM. "All you are worried about is scouting, finding players and then managing little parts that the GM wants you to manage.
"Now, when you are in the bigger chair, you've got to manage these kinds of duties which are good, but other things (pop up) in the building. That's been the biggest task for me---figuring out how to delegate my time correctly. Because at the end of the day, my biggest job at the end of the day as GM is talent acquisition. And we have to make sure we have enough talent. I never want to lose sight of that. But being able to spread my day out and making sure I still have my eyes on players has been the most difficult thing."
Ballard hasn't seemed to miss much time evaluating talent inside and outside of his roster.
The busy month of March for Ballard initially began with a key re-signing.
A day before the start of free agency, Ballard brought back Jack Doyle.
"Jack Doyle was an important guy," Ballard said of the new three-year deal for the team's top tight end. "He stood for everything we want to stand for. He worked. He earned his way. And had a really good season last year.
"I thought that deserved to be rewarded. And that's what I want our players to understand. When you do the right things and you produce, you're going to get rewarded for it."
Doyle is a major part of an offense that Ballard feels has a "good young nucleus" led by Andrew Luck.
Ballard continues to see promise in the offensive line. A pro's pro remains at running back in Frank Gore. T.Y. Hilton is a "star" in Ballard's eyes, with young talent waiting to fully evolve in Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett.
With the offense welcoming three new faces in the past few weeks, the defense has received the bulk of the attention---with six newcomers.
"Defensively, we had some work to do," Ballard said. "The roster was a little bit older. It happens. We wanted to get younger.
"So we've targeted players that we felt were good fits in the defense, that were still in the prime of their career with the arrow going up."
Ballard is out in Arizona this week for the League's Annual Meetings.
Colts.com will have more from Ballard later this week, with the NFL Draft now less than a month away.
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