Colts believe best of Jonathan Taylor is still to come

Though it was a long and arduous process, the Indianapolis Colts and running back Jonathan Taylor let cooler heads prevail, resulting in a three-year contract extension during the 2023 season.

Between a lengthy ankle injury and a media battle, things weren’t looking good in terms of both sides getting a deal done before Taylor was set to hit free agency. But they were able to get a deal done before Taylor was officially activated from the PUP list in Week 5.

General manager Chris Ballard spoke about the process of that development on the Colts official podcast.

“I think once we finally kind of took a step back and evaluated it for what it is and who Jonathan is,” Ballard said. “We want to do everything we can to keep as many homegrown players as we can. That’s been our history, and I think we got a pretty good track record of it.”

The Colts wound up signing Taylor to a three-year deal worth $42 million with $26.5 million guaranteed. The contract starts in 2024 and there is a potential out after the first two years. If the Colts part ways with Taylor after the 2025 season, they would take on just under $2.6 million in dead cap.

But getting this deal done was important for both sides, and Ballard mentioned they still believe Taylor’s best football has yet to come.

“We think going forward. I mean, Jon is 24 years old. He’s still young. He’s still a young player we think has a really, really bright future ahead of him,” Ballard said. “He’s starting to get going. And I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of what he will be.”

Since being activated in Week 5, Taylor has appeared in six games. He’s taken 85 carries for 323 rushing yards and two touchdowns while adding 16 receptions for 137 receiving yards and one touchdown.

With Anthony Richardson on the mend after undergoing successful season-ending shoulder surgery, the Colts won’t be able to see what the pairing looks like until 2024. But they certainly will need to lean on Taylor down the stretch as they look to make a playoff run.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire