Color me shocked: Jonathan Taylor signs an extension, and I never saw it coming
I thought he had one foot out the door. I thought the relationship between the Colts and Taylor's people was irreparable. I thought a lot of things. But this is good news for the franchise. No doubt.
About 24 hours ago, I was completely sure the Colts had gained the upper hand on Jonathan Taylor, who was returning, however unenthusiastically, to the lineup after a protracted hold-in. You saw or heard his quotes Thursday: He was a man with one foot out the door.
Today, 24 hours later – give or take – it looks like Taylor has the final big advantage over the Colts, having earned a 3-year, $42-million contract extension, $26.5 million guaranteed, becoming one of the highest paid running backs in the game.
Which raises two questions:
One, why did it take all these months to reach a conclusion both sides easily could have reached in about 48 hours? Why go through all these machinations, the angry quotes, the terse tweets, the Instagram posts, the claims the relationship was irreparable, just so the Colts and Taylor could reach an agreement that should have been on the table many months ago?
Two, how in the hell did I get it so wrong?
Damned right, you’re getting a mea culpa. Based on the give and take between the Colts and Taylor’s people in prior months, I concluded this relationship was busted, that the only way Taylor would return would be in somebody’s else’s uniform. Believe me, news of a newly-signed extension Saturday was not on my Bingo card. I thought it would get uglier and nastier, with talk of fines and suspensions.
I was wrong.
The Colts, to their credit, accommodated Taylor, never fined him, put him on the PUP list and played ball with the player and his agent. And full credit to Chris Ballard, who was the only person with any kind of chance to fix this mess; well, he accomplished his mission.
But I never saw this coming. Never.
Musings of an Old Sportswriter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Jim Irsay told Taylor he would not get a contract extension. Told him right there in the luxury bus parked behind the goal line in Westfield. And he gave him an extension.
Jim Irsay said the Colts wouldn’t trade Taylor today or in October when Taylor demanded a trade. Weeks later, the Colts gave Taylor and his representatives the freedom to pursue a trade.
So I guess if I’ve learned something through this, it’s that Irsay’s word is not the gospel, even when it relates to his own franchise.
What I’ve learned, too, over the years, is when you swing and miss, tip your cap to the pitcher and walk respectfully back to the dugout. After months of watching this craziness, reason won out, and who could have imagined it? But everybody is better for it. The team, the fans, everybody.
As productively as Zack Moss has played in recent weeks, he’s not a homerun hitter like Taylor. Taylor’s presence will surely have an impact on Anthony Richardson. How well Taylor will play this week and in the coming weeks, that’s a mystery given all his time away from the game. But long-term, Taylor gives Indy one of its two offensive game-changers.
Now, finally, Taylor is committed to the Colts and the Colts are committed to Taylor. The Colts will take the W. I’ll take the L. So it goes.