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Being a member of the Colts front office has been stressful and exhaustive this offseason. Not only were they responsible for trying to find the franchise quarterback, but they also have decisions to make with Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr.

Jonathan Taylor

The closer and closer we get to the start of the season, the more it starts to become a reality that the two sides will NOT agree on an extension. If you’re the Colts, why would you extend a running back entering the final year of their contract?

  • Taylor has had one fantastic season, one injury riddled season, and a solid rookie season
  • Colts hold the leverage when it comes to his contract because the tag is roughly $10.1M compared to the $13M-$16M that he could be asking for
  • Lack of impact in passing game and struggles in blitz pickup/pass protection
  • Contract could look bad if Taylor suffers another injury following extension, thus creating a question about his durability as a higher paid back

Michael Pittman Jr.

The player that hasn’t been talked about as much this offseason when it comes to a contract extension simply because he hasn’t had that break out season like Taylor. Well, we know the quarterbacks that Pitt has played with during his career and can point to that as the reason. When you take a step back and think about the numbers he has put up, it kind of shows that he has the ability to be a fringe WR1.

  • 2020: 13 games | 40 receptions | 503 yards (12.6 avg) | 1 TD
  • 2021: 17 games | 88 receptions | 1,082 yards (12.3 avg) | 6 TD’s
  • 2022: 16 games | 99 receptions | 925 yards (9.3 avg) | 4 TD’s

The fact that MPJ had 1,000 yards receiving with Carson Wentz and nearly 100 receptions with Matt Ryan/Nick Foles/Sam Ehlinger is remarkable. Efficiency too a major step back along with the offense because of the offensive line, scheme, and quarterback play. Imagine what kind of numbers Pittman could put up if Anthony Richardson develops into a franchise quarterback.

Taylor’s Impact on Pittman

The franchise tag number this season for the running back position was $10.1M and the franchise tag number for a wide receiver was $19.76M. It seems incredibly likely that the running back number will go down and then the wide receive number will go up.

  • If JT agrees to a contract extension, Pittman has less leverage from a negotiating standpoint because if he seeks $20M+ annually, then the franchise tag will be really close to that number.
  • If JT does NOT agree to a contract extension and is franchise tagged, Pittman has all the leverage in contract negotiations. The Colts can’t tag him, meaning they have to meet Pittman in the middle of pay him what he wants. If not, then he can walk in

At the end of the day, Chris Ballard has a very difficult decision to make when it comes to prioritizing which player to extend first (if you want to extend Taylor). Additionally, Grover Stewart is in the final year of his contract making it even more challenging when deciding which player receives the tag or an extension.

To listen to James Boyd and Jimmy Cook’s conversation regarding the likelihood they extend Taylor, 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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