INDIANAPOLIS —Here … we … go.
With the Indianapolis Colts smack dab in the middle of a crucial offseason of change, we've reached a major milestone in the league calendar: the NFL's "negotiating period" for unrestricted free agents.
Many refer to this two-day period as "legal tampering," but whatever you like call it, here's how it works: agents of players who are set to become unrestricted free agents when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday are now allowed to negotiate contract figures with all 32 teams. While players cannot be involved in the process at all during this period — unless dealing with their current team — no deals can be made official until that 4 p.m. Wednesday new league year.
So, in other words, NFL fans will likely be seeing plenty of reports of signings and moves over the next couple days; just keep in mind that nothing is set in stone until Wednesday afternoon.
The Colts could very well be one of those teams making moves, although general manager Chris Ballard has always cautioned against depending upon free agency too much in the team-building process.
"The one thing we won't do is pay a mid-level player blue money. And when I mean blue money: top of the line, high dollars for a guy that is not going to give us that type of production," Ballard said recently at the Colts' 2018 Town Hall for Season Ticket Members. "And I really believe that player acquisition happens, it starts in March, but it doesn't end until mid-October and even into November — you can still find players; there's answers out there. And eventually we might feel really good about signing a high-dollar free agent, and everybody in here's going to be excited, they're going to write great things, but then they've gotta play. And then that all goes away."
But it's hard to ignore the fact that Indianapolis has what's being reported as the third-most cap space (north of $70 million) at its disposal, as well as several perceived "positions of need."
The Colts also only re-signed one of their 14 free-agents-to-be prior to today's "negotiating period" beginning: kicker Adam Vinatieri.
Now, the remaining 13 Colts players set to become unrestricted free agents can begin hearing offers from other teams: wide receiver Kamar Aiken, inside linebacker Jon Bostic, safety Darius Butler, cornerback Pierre Desir, running back Frank Gore, cornerback Rashaan Melvin, guard Jack Mewhort, running back Christine Michael, outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo, wide receiver Donte Moncrief, center Mike Person, quarterback Scott Tolzien and tight end Brandon Williams.
Ballard said at the NFL Scouting Combine that the team will likely move on from Gore in an attempt to get younger at the running back position; the Colts would be interested in bringing Melvin back, meanwhile, but will likely allow him to test the open market, Ballard said.[
Click here](http://www.colts.com/news/article-1/UPDATED-Who-Are-The-Indianapolis-Colts'-2018-Free-Agents/f61a1f41-2684-47e6-a1d7-62188b42eacc) for more on each of the Colts' 13 unrestricted free agents.