There has been a lot to smile about in the first four games of the 2023 Indianapolis Colts season, as rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson is showing off his ridiculous talent, and new coach Shane Steichen is proving to be a quality hire. The Jonathan Taylor situation, however, hung over this team like a very dark cloud.
Between Taylor's unusual injury issues, his very public request for a trade, and his deteriorated relationships with owner Jim Irsay and coach Chris Ballard, Indy seemed willing to part with a budding stay who appeared to be the next in line in a long tradition of great Colts running backs.
Having finally realized that players like Taylor are few and far between, and that trading a running back of his caliber would make no sense for an offense that has very clearly built themselves around running the ball first and foremost, a contract has been hammered out between the two parties.
The Colts agreed to give Taylor a three-year contract extension worth $42 million with $26.5 million in guaranteed money. Not only is the former Wisconsin star one of the highest-paid running backs in the league, but he can make his 2023 debut against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Indianapolis Colts agree to three-year extension with Jonathan Taylor.
While he struggled with injuries last season, Taylor was the best running back in the league in 2021. Taylor led the NFL in carries (332), rushing yards (1,811), rushing touchdowns (18), total touchdowns (20), and yards from scrimmage (2,171).
His speed could work perfectly next to Richardson's power. With the offensive line looking better than they had in past seasons and Steichen's ability to come up with creative run designs, Taylor could be in a much better system for his style of play than he was in the last season of Frank Reich and his pass-happy attack.
Where does Jonathan Taylor rank among biggest RB contracts?
Taylor became the third highest-paid running back in football in terms of average annual value, trailing only New Orleans' Alvin Kamara at $15 million and San Francisco's Christian McCaffrey at $16 million. After months of tension, Irsay realized Taylor's value to this offense.
The Colts have shown they can be one of the more exciting offenses in the league and one of the most effective ground games with Richardson at the sticks. Now that a home-run hitter like Taylor is back in the fold, Steichen's offense can well and truly take flight.