Shortly after announcing that Jonathan Taylor would be activated off the PUP list for the Week 5 game against the Tennessee Titans, the big news dropped. Not only was Taylor activated, but he the Indianapolis Cots signed him to a three-year contract extension worth $42 million. This came without warning or leaking of the news. This is, without question, the correct deal and that Chris Ballard and Jonathan Taylor met in the middle to make this work.
Why Chris Ballard got a deal done with Jonathan Taylor
We will never know the true reason, but we can speculate. Ballard told us in his preseason presser that the “relationship is repairable” and he proved that. It’s fair to think that Ballard had some talks not only with Taylor but with Shane Steichen. With most fans believing the franchise is ahead of schedule, bringing Taylor back into the fold is something they couldn’t resist.
After seeing what they had with Anthony Richardson, the potential of getting those two together (especially on a rookie contract) was something that intrigued the Colts, as it would cause defensive coordinators to lose sleep at night. If reports are correct, it was Ballard who reached out again last week and really dug in to get this deal finished.
Why Jonathan Taylor got a deal done
This one seems to be a bit simple for them. Did they want him to be the highest paid running back in the league? Without question. But was that realistic in this environment. Absolutely not. We have seen what the running back market has become and what it is headed towards. I think Taylor’s representation wanted more but they also realized that this is the market now and coming in at $14 million a year puts him as the third-highest paid RB in the league, which is right where he should be. You could say Ballard caved but I think this was two professionals understanding that they need (and want) each other to achieve the goals for the year.
Let’s not neglect the effect that Jim Irsay and Shane Steichen had on this negotiation along with Chris Ballard. Irsay left Ballard with a monumental task of calming the waters with Taylor and his team. Irsay and Taylor’s agent were at odds on social media about the entire situation. It’s well known that the NFL is a business above all else and Ballard is never one to overspend on anyone.
You can argue he hasn’t always spent the money in the right places (and you can make that case here as well) but make no mistake, Ballard likes his coaching staff to develop the players that he drafts. With Taylor now signed to the extension, all the focus now turns to Micheal Pittman as the future of Shaq Leonard hangs in the balance.