INDIANAPOLIS – The timing was not something that fit what Jim Irsay was thinking and expecting.
But whether it was the early-season intrigue, or finally seeing Jonathan Taylor back and healthy, the Colts Owner gave the green light to end one of the most public, drama-filled contract debates in Irsay’s ownership tenure.
On Saturday afternoon, after months of disagreements, the Colts inked Taylor to a 3-year, $42-million deal.
“Jonathan is a special player and signing him to this extension is important knowing the impact he’ll make as the team develops under Shane Steichen,” Irsay said in a statement released by the team.
“I have no doubt he’ll continue to create highlight plays and memories for Colts fans as he’s done in his three seasons thus far. Jonathan deserves this deal and I’m happy for him.”
Taylor deserving of the deal was wildly debated in recent months.
While some might wonder if the Colts setting this precedent—rewarding a player who had such a public contract dispute—could lead to bigger locker room issuers moving forward, good luck finding any players who have produced such an impressive NFL resume after 3 seasons.
For several reasons, extending Taylor, and doing it now, made sense for the Colts entering a new era with such a unique case study at quarterback.
“Part of the reason I took this job was to work with a player like Jonathan Taylor,” Shane Steichen said over the weekend. “He adds an explosive element to our offense and his success on the field over the last three seasons is undeniable. I’m excited for the role he’ll play on this team as we continue to build.”
It was 7 touches in 10 snaps for Taylor as he played on Sunday in his first game since December 17, 2022.
Taylor playing on Sunday was a surprise to some.
Did Taylor need those two practices last week in order to get a new contract?
Would Taylor have played in 2023 without a new contract?
Those are questions Taylor didn’t want to entertain after his ’23 debut.
“I think with the new contract – that doesn’t even matter because being able to work through with Jim Irsay, Chris Ballard and the entire organization, the No. 1 goal was always to get healthy,” the 24-year-old running back said
“I think that’s where things got misconstrued at. Everybody was on the same page on, ‘Jonathan needs to get healthy. Jonathan wants to get healthy; we want Jonathan healthy.’ I think the fact that it was a little delayed, one is a big hit on myself because you just plan everything out after surgery and then it takes a little bit longer and you got to keep grinding, keep grinding, keep grinding. You don’t know when you’re going to come out of it, and you start to come out of it little by little each day. You start to do more and more and then you start progressing and then it leads you to this – a win in the division at home.”
Back at the end of the preseason, Chris Ballard was as honest as he could be in describing the issues between Taylor and the Colts.
It was a relationship needing to be repaired.
And, in the end, that repair occurred.
“I’m thrilled we were able to reach an agreement with Jonathan,” Chris Ballard said over the weekend.
“At the end of August, I spoke about the importance of relationships and being able to move forward. We were able to reach that point. We know what Jonathan means to this team and this city. He is an exceptional playmaker, and he has given a tremendous amount to our organization. This is the result we all wanted.”
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