According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, the Indianapolis Colts and star running back Jonathan Taylor have come to terms on a new 3-year, $42M contract extension with $26.5M guaranteed—finally providing closure to a lengthy contentious contract saga:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 7, 2023
The #Colts and star RB Jonathan Taylor have agreed to terms on a massive 3-year, $42M extension, locking him in at the top of the RB market and mending fences after a tumultuous period. $26.5M guaranteed.
Deal done by agents @MalkiKawa and Ethan Lock of @firstroundmgmt. pic.twitter.com/K0bXcWHEqo
Taylor, who previously had been labeled as ‘questionable’ for Sunday’s game on PUP, was activated to the 53-man roster on Saturday, and it looks as though his new contract extension came right thereafter.
Per ESPN’s Stephen Holder, Colts general manager Chris Ballard reached out to Taylor and his representation last week, and both sides were able to eventually strike a deal—which presumably explains why Taylor and his camp were in much better spirits recently.
It puts an end to a volatile back-and-forth between Colts and the Taylor that has lasted since training camp and had even entered the beginning of this year’s regular season.
It’s unclear what changed in the Colts opinion, and why they didn’t just initially offer Taylor such a competitive top running back market contract—with Taylor having never played a meaningful snap since being placed on PUP and having his ankle surgically repaired, even now. Although, maybe the Colts just wanted to see if his ankle was fully healthy—even in a team practice situation.
Perhaps the Colts were just tired of all the unnecessary drama and knew they wanted to keep Taylor long-term regardless.
At any rate, the Colts have locked up one of the offense’s best players for the foreseeable future. Taylor features a unique combination of speed and power and is one of the true rare workhorses in today’s game—as a lot of teams now go to ‘running back by committee’ backfields.
Taylor was limited by his ankle injury last year.
However, if Taylor can replicate anywhere close to his 2021 form—in which he was an NFL First-Team All-Pro and bonafide NFL MVP candidate until late into the season, and was the league’s triple crown rushing king, leading the league in carries (332), rushing yards (1,811), and rushing touchdowns (18), this deal will age very gracefully in the Colts’ eyes.
Even with a heavy collegiate workload, Taylor is still only 24 years old and figures to have a handful of elite seasons left. He should be aided on the ground this season by a Colts offensive line that ranks 9th in run block win rate, and rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, whose dynamic rushing ability is a tremendous complement for the RPO game.
As it stands, it’s great to get one of the Colts offensive cornerstones locked up for at least a few more seasons in Horseshoe Blue—as this relationship appears to have been safely mended, as it was always about the cold, calculated business side of things—and the money of it all.