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NFL: JUN 07 Indianapolis Colts OTA

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In April, Colts running back Jonathan Taylor wasn’t concerned about a new contract and said any talk of an extension wouldn’t be a distraction heading into the season.  But a couple of months, a new agent and seeing the financial landscape of his fellow running backs across the NFL, Taylor’s tune changed a bit on the last day of minicamp.

You just want to be treated fairly, not even fairly, you just want to be appreciated for what you bring to the team.  You see why guys request trades.  They just want to feel valued. – Jonathan Taylor on the current landscape of running backs

It’s not hard to see why.  Saquon Barkley and the Giants are reportedly far apart on a new contract, the Vikings just outright released Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott is still on the open market, Austin Ekeler had his contract with the Chargers revised to be more incentive-laden after a trade request earlier this year.  The list goes on and on when it comes the devaluing of the running back position and Taylor is seeing plenty of warning signs of what could be up ahead for himself without a new deal in place.

The top three highest-paid running backs on average at the moment are Christian McCaffrey ($16,015,853), Alvin Kamara ($15,000,000) and Derrick Henry ($12,500,000). Taylor ($1,957,2890) is currently the 37th-highest paid running back in the league, behind the likes of Boston Scott, Travis Homer, Justice Hill, Alexander Mattison, Nyheim Hines and Brandon Bolden.  Taylor is easily better than all of those guys until you get to the top-tier RBs and even then, at 24, he’s the youngest of the top-three highest paid guys by three years.

So what does a contract for Taylor look like? 5 years/$80-million?  Even at that contract he’s still under 30 years old.  Is it a shorter-term deal but heavily kicks up the salary and incentives?  How much do the Colts want to commit to him? The Colts have plenty of cap space left to get a deal done.  It all depends on if they want to and if a deal doesn’t get done before camp, does it start to bleed into more off-field comments from Taylor or a rift between he and the team?  No one knows for sure but it’s undeniable that he has been the workhorse and centerpiece of the offense since his arrival.

At the moment, he’s the only true difference-maker the Colts have on offense and can you imagine how much worse last season’s Colts offense would have been if Taylor’s numbers aren’t there?  It’ll be THE storyline heading into Colts camp.  The quiet period before training camp might get a little louder if talks don’t pick up or if the landscape of running backs continues to trend in the wrong direction.

Jonathan Taylor is special.

But how special do the Colts think he is?

That remains to be seen.

-Marc Dykton

For our conversation about Jonathan Taylor’s contract comments and his opinions on the likes of Dalvin Cook and more click the link below and be sure to listen to Kevin & Query from 7-10 on 93.5 & 107.5 The Fan!

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