As the NFL saw last year, Jonathan Taylor is a BEAST. In the 2021-2022 season, Jonathan Taylor let the entire world know that he has arrived and has no plans to slow down. The Colts look to be set for the future at the running back position with an almost MVP in their hands. Still, although Taylor has two years remaining on his contract, Indianapolis should be looking to extend their star tailback as soon as possible.
After his dominant season, it is safe to say Jonathan Taylor is an elite running back in the NFL, but how impressive was his sophomore season? Taylor led the league in primary statistical measures such as yards with 1811 and rushing touchdowns reaching the endzone 18 times on the ground while adding another two through the air. JT also led the NFL in 20+ yard runs, 40+ yard runs, rushing first downs, longest run, and the list can go on. His efficiency was also otherworldly, considering he did lead the league in carries. Taylor had the most effective juke rate at 44% and evaded 165 tackles, leading the league, averaging almost ten a game. If not for an exceptional season from Aaron Rodgers and some dominating receivers, Taylor would have taken home the MVP trophy.
All stats aside, Jonathan Taylor is elite and will want just as much money as any other star running back in the league. So, what do other top-tier running backs contracts look like?
Ezekiel Elliott: 6 years 90 million, 50 guaranteed
Alvin Kamara: 5 years 75 million, 33.8 guaranteed
Christian McCaffrey: 4 years 64 million approx., 38.1 guaranteed
Dalvin Cook: 5 years 63 million, 28.1 guaranteed
Derrick Henry: 4 years 50 million, 25.5 guaranteed
Right now the Colts are sitting at an advantage with the CBA rule prohibiting extensions before three years in the league. The earliest Taylor can get an extension is January 2023, which favors Indy. Many big deals were signed by running backs the past two off-seasons, so there is a chance the market settles down soon with the only big-name running backs set to hit the open market next season being Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs. Right now, the highest-paid running back annually is McCaffery at just over 16 million a year, with Elliott and Kamara not far behind at 15 a year. Again, the Colts sit at an advantage with Taylor playing the running back position and not being a star-wide receiver as that market has soured this off-season. Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams both make over 28 million dollars a year, with younger receivers such as Deebo Samuel and A.J. Brown negotiating at this very moment. Because of the abundance of talent coming out of college, running backs are one of, if not the most interchangeable/replaceable positions. With that being said, Taylor’s contract will be big, but with the cap Indy is sitting on, they will be able to make it work.
The bottom line is that Jonathan Taylor will deserve whatever he receives, and the Colts will give it to him. Indy should try and get the deal done as soon as possible and lock up their workhorse. Jonathan Taylor should and will break the record for the biggest contract ever by a running back, annually, and most likely total money and guaranteed money.
Now to the specifics. My guess is Taylor will say he is better than Zeke, Cook, or Kamara and more durable than CMC, making him worth more than all players listed above. He can use any statistic to show he is better than almost any RB in the NFL, except potentially Derrick Henry, who does not even have a substantial contract. After the horrendous Ezekiel Elliott contract, teams will hesitate to give out big money to RBs, but as all Colts fans will vouch for, Taylor is an immunity. Assuming the running back market stays where it is and does not plummet or increase, I predict Indianapolis will make Taylor the highest-paid running back in NFL history, but not by much.
What will the contract look like?
In my opinion,
The deal will look something like this:
Five years $85 million
$51 million guaranteed
This means he’ll get three years at $17 million fully guaranteed.
From the Colts’ perspective, if they are unwilling to give Taylor what he wants, they have two more years on the deal and potentially an additional two if they elect to use the franchise tag. But it is in the best interest of both parties to get a deal done as soon as possible.