Will Jonathan Taylor’s contract negotiation with Colts be messy like other top RBs?

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28)
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Top running backs usually have messy contract negotiations when it’s time for a new deal. Will Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts be different?

It’s tough being a running back in the NFL right now. At times, it seems like everyone is trying to devalue the running back position and argue that all running backs are replaceable, top running backs shouldn’t be paid, and elite running back prospects shouldn’t be drafted in the first round. Regardless of this attack on RBs, there are still several elite running backs in the league.

Unfortunately, the narrative around the position is affecting the business of top running backs. The league’s elite backs are struggling to get massive contracts, and often find themselves in grueling negotiations, regardless of their proven value to their respective teams.

Currently, Saquon Barkley is franchise tagged by the New York Giants, Josh Jacobs is franchise tagged by the Las Vegas Raiders, and Tony Pollard is franchise tagged by the Dallas Cowboys. Of those three, only Pollard has signed his tag and has been participating with his team throughout the offseason.

Both Barkley and Jacobs have been away from their respective franchises as they desire a long-term deal that reflects their skill and worth to their teams. As these situations draw out and get messy, fans of the Indianapolis Colts have to wonder if they’re in for a similar journey with Jonathan Taylor.

Will it be a challenge for Jonathan Taylor and Colts to agree on deal?

Taylor is currently entering the final season of his rookie contract. In just three years in the NFL, he has already established himself as one of the top running backs in the league. In 2021, Taylor’s second season in the NFL, he led the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, carrying the Colts to several victories. There’s no doubt that he deserves a nice extension.

Will he get it immediately from the Colts though? Indianapolis hasn’t used its franchise tag since 2013, when the team used it on Pat McAfee. For that reason, it seems like Indy will either agree on a new deal with Taylor or allow him to walk in free agency. The Colts certainly will want to keep Taylor around.

It will be a challenge, as Indianapolis has several players set to enter free agency next offseason. Taylor, who recently hired new agents, likely won’t reset the running back market, but he should be able to agree to a nice extension with the Colts. Considering Chris Ballard’s history with paying homegrown players, the expectation should be that Indianapolis and Taylor will have a much smoother process than the other top running backs are having.