The fallout from Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay's comments about the running back market appear to have deteriorated the team's standing with Jonathan Taylor.
Taylor's agent, Malki Kawa, tweeted that he doubts the relationship between Irsay and Taylor can be mended after Irsay called running back contract complaints "inappropriate." This comes a day after Kawa wrote that "bad faith is not paying your top offensive player" in response to Irsay's original message.
The tension between running backs and NFL teams boiled over this offseason after Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard were unable to secure long-term extensions despite good seasons and instead were forced to either take the one-year franchise tag or hold out. Barkley signed a one-year deal with extra incentives, Pollard signed the tag, and Jacobs opted to skip training camp.
Multiple running backs posted messages on X, the social media platform formally known as Twitter, to air their grievances. That group included Taylor, who initially posted, "Wow" after Barkley, Jacobs and Pollard remained unsigned before he sent a longer post lamenting the situation.
1. If you’re good enough, they’ll find you.
2. If you work hard enough, you’ll succeed.
…If you succeed…
3. You boost the Organization
Doesn’t matter, you’re a RB https://t.co/mG6In1ATGg
— Jonathan Taylor (@JayT23) July 17, 2023
Taylor, who was the NFL's rushing leader in 2021, is eligible for an extension this year after he was the Colts' second-round pick in 2020. He has one year left on his rookie deal before the Colts could franchise-tag him after this season and potentially again in 2025.
But after Irsay's comments, it's impossible to know what will happen between Taylor and the Colts. The two sides reportedly talked about a contract extension earlier this offseason after Taylor's injury-riddled year.
Taylor likely is an important piece to what new head coach Shane Steichen is building in Indianapolis with 2023 first-round pick Anthony Richardson under center. The Colts have a solid offensive line, a good defense and a quality receiver in Michael Pittman Jr. A true three-down running back in Taylor would be crucial for the Colts, especially after rushing for 3,841 yards and 33 touchdowns in his first three seasons.
Perhaps things can be mended. But after Kawa's response, that seems less likely.