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Colts’ Chris Ballard uses winning four games against Jonathan Taylor but signs deal for Luke Rhodes.

Ballard seems to be sending mixed messages regarding how the Colts hand out extensions.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts now have the highest paid long snapper in the league after inking Luke Rhodes to an extension.

I have no problem with the Colts extending Rhodes and no issue with him being the top paid player at his position. He has been a constant on this Colts roster and even made the Pro Bowl in 2022.

Rhodes is the Colts’ second-longest tenured player behind center Ryan Kelly and has appeared in 101 games since joining the team in 2016. The Colts initially signed Rhodes to their practice squad in October 2016 and signed him to their 53-man roster that December; since his debut seven seasons ago, he’s missed just one game.

No, the problem isn’t with Rhodes or the extension. The issue is with Ballard’s recent and inconsistent comments regarding Jonathan Taylor’s contract dispute. Is a long snapper the same as a running back? Nope. Do they command the same type of money? Nope. Is running back seen as an uber valuable position currently? Nope. Do the two positions provide the same type of value to the team? Nope.

All those things are true. It is also true that Ballard stated the 2022 Colts were a four win team, and that makes doing business a little more difficult.

“...And I explained this during camp: Coming off last season, it’s tough. You won four games. You’ve got a brand-new coaching staff, all the circumstances surrounding it. So I think every situation is different.”

Every situation must be different because the Colts deemed it necessary to extend a position who more than a handful of fans couldn’t name the person who holds the current roster spot but not a man whose picture adorns the side of Lucas Oil Stadium. Ballard can use the “four win” logic all he wants but shouldn’t pull it out only when it fits his needs. Rhodes was also part of a four win team. He must be important to the Colts’ success because they made him the highest paid player at that position. Is he more important to the team’s success than an All-Pro running back?

Maybe it was all just posturing. Maybe it was designed to not give in to a sulking player who demanded an extension and proceeded to throw a fit. Maybe, just maybe, that strategy is working...

Hopefully, the relationship can be repaired and Ballard and Taylor can find common ground. Perhaps the Colts will ultimately deem the running back as non-essential. In the meantime, maybe the long snapper can break off 65-yard runs and score touchdowns for a four win team.