Sometimes, less is more, and few words were actually needed for pending Indianapolis Colts free agent running back Jonathan Taylor to express his surprise—and presumably disappointment, that none of the NFL’s top free agent running backs were able to reach multi-year deals with their respective clubs before Monday’s 4 pm EST deadline:
Wow.— Jonathan Taylor (@JayT23) July 17, 2023
1. If you’re good enough, they’ll find you.— Jonathan Taylor (@JayT23) July 17, 2023
2. If you work hard enough, you’ll succeed.
…If you succeed…
3. You boost the Organization
Doesn’t matter, you’re a RB https://t.co/mG6In1ATGg
It’s a talented free agent rushing group that is headlined by the New York Giants Saquon Barkley, but also includes the Las Vegas Raiders Josh Jacobs and Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Pollard—all of whom will play on the franchise tag for at least this upcoming season.
With no long-term deals for Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard, the last time a RB signed a long-term contract worth $10 million or more per year was Nick Chubb in 2021 — 716 days ago.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 17, 2023
It obviously is a discouraging development for Taylor, who may have otherwise been poised to become the highest paid running back in NFL history when he hits free agency next offseason, but now may be facing the franchise tag himself for the 2024 season—just a year later, in similar fashion to his current top free agent rushing peers.
That being said, the Colts and general manager Chris Ballard tend to take care of their own homegrown players—particularly as it relates to retaining their stars, having already re-signed Shaquille Leonard, Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith, Ryan Kelly, and Kenny Moore II under his tenure. The fact that Taylor plays running back though, where lucrative long-term second contracts for the league’s top running backs simply haven’t aged well on the back-half recently, clearly clouds that once sunny picture though.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Colts handle Taylor’s ongoing contract negotiations—perhaps frontloading a multi-year deal (*to provide them greater flexibility on the backend), but either way, Monday wasn’t especially great news for either him or his representation.