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Colts RB-Jonathan Taylor runs in the open field.

Source: INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 14: Jonathan Taylor #28 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball as Andrew Wingard #42 of the Jacksonville Jaguars defends during the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Just two seasons ago Jonathan Taylor looked like was attempting to dethrone Derrick Henry as the best running back in the NFL. After an injury riddled 2022 season, Taylor has slipped minds of many when it comes to the top backs in the NFL.

Fantasy football plays such a pivotal role nowadays as to how fans rank anyone, but running back especially. When you think about the best pure runners in football, the first two names that come to mind are Henry and Nick Chubb. After that you think of RB’s that can lineup anywhere on the field like Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, etc.

In 2020, King Henry for Tennessee signed a 4-year extension worth $50M. Just before the start of the 2021 season, Chubb signed a 3-year $36.6M extension with Cleveland. Taylor figures to be somewhere between these two when his extension is agreed upon. He’s not the RB who can line up in the slot and go run routes like a wide receiver, but he is a capable pass catcher when you swing a pass out to him in the flat or on a screen (remember the Monday night game in Baltimore?).

Taylor’s calling card as a running back is his home run ability. That is a trait that you simply cannot coach because a lot has to happen in order for a great back to find the end zone for a big play. Great blocking, being able to make a defender or two miss, patience, and being able to see the play happen before it does. Pairing Taylor with Anthony Richardson can really make decisions easier for the Colts rookie quarterback.

  • Load the box to make it easier on WR’s to get open
  • Defensive ends will have to make a decision to stop JT or AR
  • Make the defensive scheme reads easier
  • Help Richardson reading the defense in the backfield to tell him where the pressure is coming from

The length could be the hold up between the Colts and Taylor’s new representatives, Malki Kawa and Ethan Locke of First Round Management. Those are the same reps that Shaq Leonard has, so Ballard is very familiar with working with the two. Any player, especially running back, in the NFL wants to secure the longest and richest contract they can receive. Taylor may have to accept the fact he very well could be restricted to a 3-year contract around $12M-$14M annually.

On Thursday’s edition of the Fan Midday Show, Colts beat reporter from the IndyStar in Nate Atkins joined Brian Noe and Jimmy Cook to discuss why he believes the Colts will end up paying JT before the season starts. Other topics discussed were:

  • How the design of practices has helped accelerate Richardson’s development
  • What Ballard has to keep in mind when re-building this roster around Richardson

To listen to Jimmy Cook and Brian Noe’s conversation with Nate Atkins, download the podcast containing the conversation below! You can always listen to the Fan Midday Show from 12pm-3pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan, but you can watch and interact with the show by going to the 107.5 The Fan YouTube Channel.

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