They say that money can’t buy happiness but it can certainly fix some problems. As we all know by now, the Indianapolis Colts front office have had problems with their star running back Jonathan Taylor all off-season. And with one swift flick of the pen, those problems have now come to an end as the Colts have reportedly signed Taylor to a three year $42 million contract extension including $26.5 million dollars making him the third highest paid running back per year at $14 million, behind only Christian McCaffrey (~$16 million) and Alvin Kamara ($15 million). After missing the first four games of the season with an ankle issue, Taylor is now back practicing with the team and ready to rock.
Colts Rushing Machine
The Colts now are poised to be one of the most dangerous running teams in the league with Anthony Richardson and Jonathan Taylor. Other teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens have used the Run Pass Option (RPO) with their mobile QBs to devastating affect over the years. In the history of the league, there are less than 20 players with a career yards per carry over 5. Here are some of the yards per carry numbers for backs with these teams in recent years.
Anthony Richardson running the RPO with Jonathan Taylor behind All Pro guard Quenton Nelson could be dangerously effect. For fantasy football purposes, mobile quarterbacks don’t dump passes down to the backs as often and they sometimes vulture touchdowns so it might not be a perfect world but the efficiency is likely to be off the charts. Per Dianna Russini, we may have Zack Moss mixing in for the early going but, with a contract like that, Taylor will be expected to carry the load down the stretch.
Running Back Contract Market Fallout
It’s no secret that the running back community believes they have been underpaid. They held a private meeting about the issue while multiple players have expressed their concerns publicly. And we aren’t talking about run of the mill players either here - we’ve heard from current super stars like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Austin Ekeler etc. as well as past players like LeSean McCoy, Le’Veon Bell, and Chris Johnson. The RBs and the NFLPA agree that there needs to be some sort of compromise here for the workhorses.
This massive contract obviously has a couple big implications. First, it gives leverage to players like EKeler, Barkley, and Josh Jacobs who are currently at a stalemate. The other is that it moves the needle for franchise tag implications. The different varieties of the tag are all based in some way on the top contracts of players at the position. Right now it’s only ~$10 million which is a bargain for GMs but, the more players that break the threshold with bigger deals, the higher that number is going to be. And the better it is for running backs across the board.