Seems Like Colts Owner Jim Irsay Won’t Be Paying Star RB Jonathan Taylor

Taylor was a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection during the 2021 season

Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts walks off the field.
Jonathan Taylor may not be long for the Indianapolis Colts
Dylan Buell/Getty

A first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection following the 2021 season, Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts was the NFL’s rushing leader with 1,811 yards, good for a 106.5 yards per game average. Taylor’s 20 total touchdowns and 2,171 yards from scrimmage also led the league. 

Hampered by an ankle injury he suffered in Week 4 that limited him to 11 games, Taylor’s numbers took a considerable dip last season, his third in the league, as he rushed for just 861 yards and four touchdowns. The Colts limped to a 4-12-1 record, putting them in position to select quarterback Anthony Richardson at No. 4 overall in the NFL Draft.

Richardson, who played his college ball at Florida, agreed to terms on a four-year, $33.99 million fully guaranteed deal that included a $21.72 million signing bonus paid up-front earlier this month. Taylor, who was drafted in the second round with the 41st overall pick in the 2020 draft,  is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is set to earn $4.304 million in base salary.

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This disparity between the salaries of the two players is an example of the pay gap that NFL running backs have been complaining about in recent weeks as the market for their services continues to shrink due to the relatively replaceable nature of the position.

Taylor, who reported to Colts training camp with teammates on Tuesday and was placed on the physically unable to perform list, as his ankle continues to heal, expressed concerns about being able to cash in with a second contract after his rookie deal expires following the season.

“Seeing guys fight, you just hope that things work out for them,” Taylor said last month, according to The IndyStar. “You see why guys, they request trades. They just want to feel valued, not only by their coaches, their teammates, but the organization as well, and I think it’s something you’ve got to continue to do. It’s sad, and it sucks. Specifically, speaking for the running back position, because I can speak firsthand, we do a lot…You just want to be appreciated for what you bring to the team.”

Based on what Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted last night, it doesn’t sound as if the team is going to show Taylor much appreciation at the negotiation table.

“NFL Running Back situation — We have negotiated a CBA, that took years of effort and hard work and compromise in good faith by both sides,” Irsay tweeted. “To say now that a specific Player category wants another negotiation after the fact, is inappropriate. Some Agents are selling ‘bad faith.’”

The tweet did not go over well with Taylor’s agent.

Irsay firing off his tweet complicates negotiations between Taylor’s camp and Indy general manager Chris Ballard, who has previously said there have been contract talks between the two sides. Unfortunately for Taylor, the Colts own all of the leverage, because they have the ability to place the franchise tag on Taylor for the next two years. (That’s what the Giants did with Saquon Barkley and look how that worked out for him.)

“The market is what the market is,” Ballard said on Tuesday, via The Athletic. “But saying that, like I’ve always told you, you pay good players. You pay guys that are gonna help you win, regardless of the position. We think very highly of Jonathan.”

But does Irsay? Doesn’t sound like it.

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