The Colts tried.
Honest, they tried to get something done before Tuesday’s active NFL trade deadline. General manager Chris Ballard tried to move some of their assets, tried to get draft picks in return, spent the whole day, and previous days, on the telephone, but in the end, NFL GM’s saw the same things we’ve all seen with our own eyes: The Colts don’t have any players who interest other teams – not enough to give up draft choices, anyway.
If players don’t particularly interest the 2-6, bottom-feeding Colts, why would they interest contending teams?
Vontae Davis? The Colts would have loved to have moved the cornerback, but he’s 30 years old, he’s dealt with injuries (like virtually everybody in this league) and he would have cost a team $4.5 million, or half of his annual salary, to play eight games. Unless you’re a contending team that is one decent cornerback away from contending for a championship, why pursue Davis, who may ultimately end up as a half-year rental as he enters free agency?
Frank Gore? Look, we all respect Gore, but there’s not a huge market for 34-year-old running backs with the kinds of miles he has on his tires. It would have been nice for Gore if the Colts could have moved him to a contender – just to do right by Gore, who signed here with the idea he would compete for a Super Bowl – but again, a player like him, at his advanced age, is not in great demand. Or any demand, for that matter.
Donte Moncrief? Good heavens. Yeah, he’s inexpensive, making less than a million dollars a year, but he’s done nothing – and I mean, NOTHING – this season. In eight games, he’s caught 18 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown. Granted, he’s playing with a backup quarterback and an offensive line that can’t hold up, but when opponents are focusing on T.Y. Hilton, a guy like Moncrief absolutely has to be more productive than he’s been this season. Moncrief is in a contract year, yet he’s producing like a player who just got a massive new contract. The rest of the league said: Thanks, but no thanks.
The league saw what we’ve all seen: The Colts aren’t any good and are sorely lacking in assets. Seriously, if they had lots of assets, they wouldn’t be 2-6 and have the worst point differential in the NFL.
I don’t know if the Colts did anything more than listen to offers for Hilton, but in my view, moving him would have been a terrible mistake. True, he’s having a sub-standard season, but he remains a three-time Pro Bowler who led the league last year in receiving yards, and has shown that when he has Andrew Luck at quarterback, he’s one of the more dangerous weapons in the league. It would have been foolish to overreact to the way he’s played this season with Scott Tolzien (one game) and Jacoby Brissett (seven games), or dump him because he showed some immaturity by trashing the offensive line after the Jacksonville game.
Put it this way: The Colts don’t have a lot of good players. Hilton is one of their good players. And when Luck returns – someday – there’s no reason to think that Hilton won’t once again be a game-breaking player.
I fully understand the fans’ frustration. They want something done and they want it done now, even if trades are relatively rare at the NFL trade deadline (this year being the exception). In a perfect world, they would have walked away with some draft picks in exchange for players they have no intention of re-signing. But again, if you’re another team’s GM, why throw away valuable picks, even late picks, in exchange for a guy who isn’t that good to start with and may end up being nothing more than a half-season rental?
It takes two to make a trade.
The Colts were ready to dance.
They just couldn’t find a dance partner.