I feel like Ballard will always shoulder the blame, just because he "gets it." The reason the Colts had to play unproven journeymen in 2019 is because they got hit with a rash of injuries at specific positions. Lots of injuries at corner and WR, and then we had to go get Inman and play guys like Boddy-Calhoun at corner.
And while he's always said you can't buy a locker room, he's now saying he feels like the locker room is "ready" to bring in high profile guys. So he's sort of turning the page, IMO.
Also, he could technically bring in a "big name free agent" in 2020 just by signing a veteran QB like Rivers. Wouldn't that qualify? A trade for SB MVP Nick Foles would check that box as well.
As for the roster composition, I think the team is still at least one draft/rookie season away from really having depth, and still has some holes at specific starting positions right now -- DT, maybe CB, TE, etc. If they're taking a build through the draft approach, there are no shortcuts. You only get a great roster with good depth with the passage of time.
Last thing, I'm not predicting anything about what Ballard does in the offseason. This is going to be a unique year for the Colts, and anything could happen. My protest has primarily been 'let's not fool ourselves into thinking the Colts MUST spend big in 2020, because it's not true.' Not necessarily saying they won't, or will, just that they don't have to.
Yeah, altruism is more likely than trying to hit the spending floor. I haven't seen anything that confirms -- to my satisfaction -- that recouping the bonus money would affect his contract rights, but that's been going around since September so I don't know... I certainly haven't found it in the CBA.
As for JB, I don't think I felt it was a good call. Just that I understood their motivation. I always felt the money was a touch high -- before they did it, I gave a projection of what they might give him in an extension, and they came in about $12m higher than I thought -- but I thought the goal was obvious. It wasn't a commitment to JB as the QB of the future, just a protection for the team in case he wound up being really good.
He didn't. I think the next steps are pretty obvious. Make sure that the QB of the future is on the roster this offseason, whether that's a veteran acquisition or a drafted rookie. Easier said than done, but that's Ballard's job.
I'm a Ballard fan, but he must get this right.