INDIANAPOLIS —The four remaining teams in the NFL playoff picture have one thing in common: they have the four best scoring offenses in the league.
Scoring points, and lots of them, is a premium in today's NFL, and there are several teams heading into this offseason in dire need of a playmaker at the quarterback position who can make plays and win games.
The Indianapolis Colts just happen to have two of them.
But with their backup quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2019, some believe now is the perfect time for the Colts to entertain offers to get the most value out of the luxury of having such a talented, young player at a coveted position who is yet to sign his second (and much more expensive) NFL contract.
Colts general manager acknowledged the possibility of that very scenario Monday in his annual end-of-season press conference with the media.
But he also said Brissett's value goes far beyond what he has done, and what others believe he can do, on the field.
Could the Colts execute a trade involving Brissett? Sure, but it would take quite the haul coming from the other side to even consider it.
"It would have to be right organizationally, and for him," Ballard said. "I want to do the right thing for the player, too, now. I want to do the right thing for Jacoby. Jacoby has too much value to us, not only as our backup quarterback who I think you can absolutely win with and I think he's a starter in the league, but also to the locker room. He is well-respected throughout the locker room by both sides of the ball — offensively and defensively."
The Colts acquired Brissett in a trade with the New England Patriots just before the start of the 2017 season, when Andrew Luck was coming off his offseason shoulder surgery, and the team needed added competition at the quarterback position with then-starter Scott Tolzien.
Brissett entered the lineup in the second half of the team's season opener against the Los Angeles Rams and never left the rest of the season, starting 15 games despite the fact he had to learn the team's playbook on the go. He completed 276-of-469 passes for 3,098 yards and 13 touchdowns to seven interceptions, while also running for four scores on the ground.
With Luck continuing to rehab, Brissett got the starter's snaps during this past offseason. And even as Luck got back into the fold full-time during training camp, Brissett continued to develop as a team leader, and by the regular season he was one of the team's more popular players on both sides of the ball.
Ballard said he had a "long visit" with Brissett on Sunday, the day after the Colts' season ended with their 31-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs, and laid out what he can expect moving forward.
"This is what I told Jacoby; I said, 'I'm not giving you away. Won't do it,'" Ballard said. "I said I had chances last year and I didn't do it, and I won't do it again.
"He is a special, special teammate," Ballard continued. "I think you've all seen it. You've been through that locker room. He is well-respected," Ballard said. "And I think the relationship between him and Andrew has become very strong over time — and as you would expect in that quarterback room."
Ballard, however, is also going to do what's best for the team in general. So he'll be open to offers for Brissett, but will remain extremely protective of the player and the man that wears No. 7 for the Colts.
"That's something we'll work through, but it would take somebody doing something that would absolutely blow me away and it has to be the right thing for the kid, too," Ballard said. "I'm not just sending him anywhere."