This week, NFL running backs across the league expressed their disappointment after Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, and Tony Pollard all were unable to negotiate long-term deals with their respective franchises. Now, all three will play on the franchise tag, if they’re going to play at all during the 2023 season.
This moment is being viewed as an exclamation, of sorts, of how the running back position is being devalued. As the league’s top running backs band together and think of ways they can demand better treatment, Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor had been named as an important player in the fight.
Taylor is entering the final season of his rookie contract, and experts believe his next deal could determine the direction of the running back market. With that being the case, what does a realistic deal look like for Jonathan Taylor?
Projecting Jonathan Taylor’s contract
Gary Davenport answered this in a recent piece for Bleacher Report, predicting contracts for 10 different running backs in the NFL. For Taylor, Davenport predicted that he stays with the Colts, signing a four-year deal worth $53.5 million with $27.5 million guaranteed. That equates to about $13.4 million annually, which unfortunately wouldn’t reset the market. However, it does seem realistic.
While the projected contract doesn’t reset the market, Davenport does believe Taylor has the best chance to get it done, for a few reasons. For starters, the Colts have a rookie quarterback in Anthony Richardson. This is the best time to add expensive players to the roster, and as Davenport points outs having Taylor will make things easier for the young QB.
Additionally, Taylor will only be 25 next offseason, and he has the chance to put another dominant season on his resume. Davenport explained, “If Taylor can recapture his 2021 form though (or come close), then he has the best chance of any contract-year back in the league of hitting the proverbial jackpot.”
That's why all eyes will be on Taylor and the Colts this year. Everyone will be watching to see if Taylor can stay healthy and dominate the league again, and if Indianapolis will reward him for it.