Colts deserve some blame for the mess created with Jonathan Taylor

The situation between Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts has gotten really messy, and some decisions by the franchise are a big reason why.
Chicago Bears v Indianapolis Colts
Chicago Bears v Indianapolis Colts / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

As the situation between Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts unfolds into an embarrassing mess, it’s very easy to look at Taylor and criticize him as the catalyst of this offseason drama. Just another greedy athlete that’s acting like a diva, right? That’s the stand that many fans have already taken, criticizing Taylor and his agent, and asking that Indianapolis trade the disgruntled running back already.

However, that’s not a fair assessment of the situation. Could Taylor and his team have handled things differently? Sure, but who determines what the right way is? The truth of the matter is that the situation is definitely ugly right now, and while it may be easy to throw all the blame on Taylor, the organization’s hands are also dirty.

Jonathan Taylor has reason to be frustrated with Colts

This all stems back to last season, when Taylor suffered an ankle injury. According to ESPN’s Stephen Holder, the franchise urged Taylor to play through the injury, which he did. Despite being hurt, and playing behind a really bad offensive line, Taylor still showed up for Indianapolis for 11 games, running for 861 yards and four touchdowns. With all that was working against Taylor, he still managed 4.5 yards a carry.

However, the organization is now using the 2022 season against Taylor. Both team owner Jim Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard have made statements about Taylor coming off an injury and a down season, in explanations for why there isn’t a new contract yet. The phrase bad faith has been thrown around during this entire ordeal, and urging a player to play hurt, then penalizing him for it is the epitome of bad faith. Taylor should definitely be frustrated with that.

Beyond that, Taylor has obsevered the way the Indianapolis Colts have done business over the last few years. The franchise typically pays their top players ahead of the final season of their contract, or earlier. That was the case with Quenton Nelson, Shaquille Leonard, Braden Smith, and other players that are currently on the roster. So when Jim Irsay says a player gets paid when it’s their time to get paid, his franchise’s precedent shows that time is when the player has a season remaining on their contract.

However, that’s wasn’t the case for Taylor. Indianapolis didn’t make an offer at all, and made it clear that they don’t plan to. How else is Taylor supposed to read that other than that he’s not being valued by the team like he’s seen other top players be valued? Again, the franchise has given him another reason to be frustrated.

Since entering the league, Jonathan Taylor has done everything the “right” way. He’s been extremely productive, didn’t have any off-field issues, and was extremely healthy up until the ankle injury. And let’s be real, the ankle injury wasn’t considered to be severe or career-altering like a knee injury, so it’s not even that big of a factor. Taylor is only 24 years old, and for his first three NFL seasons, he’s essentially been the perfect NFL player, going about things the “right” way. That didn't get him anywhere, so he decided to switch up and see what the alternative has to offer.

While some fans say the Colts have every right to wait until next offseason to offer Jonathan Taylor a new contract, they are correct. However, Jonathan Taylor also has every right to be frustrated and cause a scene. Let’s just not act like the organization is an innocent bystander in the messy scene that it very clearly help create.