Reich: Colts 'don't go on reputation' in free agency

With a league-high $108 million in cap space, the Indianapolis Colts enter free agency primed to land a big fish, or two, or three.

Indy has been linked to, among others, Steelers castoffs Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, two stars who will likely garner top dollar or compensation when they find their landing spot.

But would Bell or Brown fit in Indianapolis, which, since general manager Chris Ballard took over in 2017, has developed a winning culture from the ground up?

Colts coach Frank Reich said earlier this week that Indy's locker room is "not just open to any great player. You've got to be the right guy. You've got to be the right player."

That sounded like a signal to prospective free agents and the league that Indy wasn't going to play fast and loose with its fat wallet.

On "Good Morning Football" on Friday, Reich's tone was more open-minded toward prospects with, say, baggage.

"It'll be case by case," Reich said. "We take an optimistic approach. Minds are open. We don't go on reputation. We don't go on hearsay. Chris and his staff will sit down and go through every player. Is he available? Is he the right fit? Do they fit into our scheme? Is this the right thing to do for our team?"

The Colts surprised in the 2018 season with a 10-6 record, a run to the postseason and a blowout win in the Wild Card Round. While Indy can improve at almost every position, save for quarterback and left guard, the Colts don't have any glaring, irreparable holes on their roster for the first time in a while.

This allows Indy to be uniquely particular in how it evaluates top talent and spreads its wealth this offseason. In short: There's no guarantee that just because Indy can break the bank for Bell and/or Brown that the Colts will do so.

"We want players that want to get better, want to be great, want to be part of the team, that are willing to sacrifice sometimes their individual stats for the betterment of winning and being a good teammate," Ballard said this week. "If they fit into that criteria, absolutely they'll fit in.

"But it is going to be a strict criteria."