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My 2 cents on the Colts’ Jonathan Taylor situation

The Colts need to solve this mess as soon as possible

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

It seems like the Indianapolis Colts just cannot have a quiet offseason. Right after Isaiah Rodgers’ gambling suspension, we have a new drama on our hands: All-Pro running back Jonathan Taylor’s contract dispute with the team. It comes as a surprise especially after JT had seemingly chosen a patient approach, saying that he would play out his contract and let things happen organically. In the past couple of weeks we had several tweets (are they still “tweets”?, what do we call them now? Xs?), JT being placed on the PUP list and rumors circulating about him starting the season on the NFRI list, Jim Irsay going against the running backs, then pulling aside JT for a quick chat on his bus, Taylor reportedly formally asking for a trade and then Irsay saying they are not going to trade him... all this in an offseason where the running backs’ value plummeted after Dalvin Cook was released and Saquon Barkley signed a one-year deal worth 11M.

The situation is a mess right now, and there is just no telling what is going to happen next, but with the information we have right now we are able to formulate opinions on the subject, and here is mine: JT is definitely not doing himself any favors here, and his outlook is looking worse by the week.

I understand the Colts’ point. Giving a running back that big second contract rarely works, especially considering JT already suffered some ankle injuries this past season. In no way am I questioning Taylor’s ability, when he was healthy he was at least a top 5 offensive player in the NFL, what I am questioning is his approach to negotiating and how much he is actually worth.

It is hard to make assumptions on his approach because we don’t know 100% of the story, so we are in the shadows about the exact numbers proposed by JT and the counteroffer by the Colts. If I were in Irsay’s shoes, I would happily give JT something along the lines of a 3-year $50-million contract, which is possible thanks to having a quarterback on a rookie deal. It also makes plenty of sense for the Colts to give their young franchise quarterback an All-Pro caliber back next to him to help take some pressure off his shoulders. Now if JT is asking for something more along the lines of a 5-year $100 million-deal, then I am not taking that. For most teams it never makes sense to pay their running back, but for the Colts, and in this particular situation, there is no better fit for JT than Indy, that is also why it makes no sense for him to take such a drastic approach. There is no team in the NFL that would be able to give Taylor more money, he already knows the team, and he would get to play with a solid offensive line. With his recent behavior and the liked tweets by his agent, JT is destroying his relationship with the Colts, and it seems like the chances of an extension for him to stay in Indy are at an all-time low. One has to think, what are the ways that this scenario plays out for JT?

There is also the case as to what return would the Colts get for Taylor. Christian McCaffery netted the Panthers a 2nd, a 3rd, two 4ths, and a 5th. Taking that deal as a benchmark, the potential for Taylor is not promising. CMC is much more valuable as a pass-catcher, so perhaps the return for Taylor would be something along the lines of several picks between the 3rd and the 5th round. I don’t see a scenario where the Colts end up taking a deal like that. Also, what is JT expecting his contract to be like? Derrick Henry got a 4-year, $50 million extension after playing under the franchise tag for a season, and when he got that extension it was right after his 2,000-yard season, and he had led the NFL in rushing yards and touchdowns for two consecutive years. JT had one impressive season and was just adequate in limited playing time last year.

Overall, this is just a messy situation in a time where the Colts need stability for their young franchise quarterback to grow properly. I understand this issues take time, but if I am the Colts I’m looking to solve it as soon as possible. Even if Taylor ends up playing, the Colts certainly don’t need his negative vibes if he is pissed off against the team’s owner. So far, expect anything, and just monitor how this situation continues to unfold. The most recent development is that backup running back Zack Moss suffered a broken arm in training camp today, so that helps JT’s leverage in a way.