The Indianapolis Colts have built an old school team. There are two current mantras that have been echoed over the years. The first is “win in the trenches.” Currently, the offensive line is contractually bloated and underperforming, while the defensive line is solid but leaves much to be desired as it struggles to provide consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The second mantra has been “run the damn ball.” NFL teams talk about running the ball and how it is vital to success. Coach Shane Steichen believes in it too.
Shane Steichen on his offensive philosophy: “We’re gonna throw to score points and we’re gonna run to win.”— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) February 14, 2023
Scoring points is great, but winning is even better. If you have to run to win, then you better be able to run the ball. The problem is that NFL teams aren’t willing to put their money where their mouths are.
Take a look at the leading rusher from the last 14 Super Bowls and their base salary: pic.twitter.com/sBC97Upzh0— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) February 13, 2023
Teams that win or at least play in Super Bowls aren’t paying their running backs top dollars. That money is going to premier positions like QB, WR, CB, and DE.
To answer the first question of should the Colts pay Jonathan Taylor, the answer is no, or at least not what he thinks he deserves. The modern NFL doesn’t allow for it to have ultimate success. As much as coaches want to talk about running the ball, it is a pass first league. Paying a running back top dollar, doesn’t make sense.
I would love to be wrong, but I have serious doubts that the Colts will be playing in February. A Super Bowl is not the measuring stick for success this season. Additionally, as mentioned, the Colts are old school. Their current identity is intertwined with Jonathan Taylor.
Outside of the offensive line, this team is young and inexperienced. The hopeful savior of this franchise only has 12 collegiate starts under his belt. The rest of the offense is almost exclusively on rookie contracts. Removing an All-Pro and the best player on that side of the ball from the roster would be ill-advised and greatly stunt Anthony Richardson’s development.
The Kansas City Chiefs found their guy, Isiah Pacheco, in the seventh round of the draft. Not only did the Colts select Taylor in the second round, they moved up to grab him. I am not making a comparison between the two players as Taylor is the superior back. The comment is how some teams approach the position.
There is a big difference between the Colts and the Chiefs. The Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes. The Colts do not have their own version just yet; at least not that we know of. This other worldly difference maker at quarterback allows them to skimp on the running back position. Unfortunately, the Colts are in no such position.
I am excited to see what Richardson can do this season, but surrounding him with the best possible talent will be essential. To answer the second question of whether the Colts have to pay Taylor, the answer is yes. Not only does he deserve to be paid for his production, the Colts need him on this team the way it is currently constructed. There is a middle ground somewhere that makes sense for both parties. Extend Taylor for 3 years, 39 million and be done with it. The Colts made their own bed. Now, they have to sleep in it.