“No Jonathan Taylor Trade Yet as Colts and Running Back Reach Standstill”
Despite setting today as a tentative deadline for a Jonathan Taylor trade, the Indianapolis Colts did not finalize any deal on Tuesday. The Colts had been aiming to address their unsettled running back situation by this point, but apparently, no offered deal has met their expectations.
In a surprising turn, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport has disclosed that Jonathan Taylor, the former rushing champion, is expected to start the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list. This decision will keep Taylor sidelined for a minimum of four games. While the Colts technically have until the trade deadline on October 31 to potentially move Taylor, their initial soft deadline has now passed, and they find themselves at a crossroads.
Despite significant interest from two teams, Colts’ General Manager Chris Ballard reportedly found the offers insufficient, according to Rapoport and ESPN’s Adam Schefter. This ongoing saga has extended over a month, with Taylor first requesting a trade in late July.
Last week, the Colts opened up the possibility of a trade by allowing Taylor’s representatives to seek out potential partners. However, it’s believed that no team has presented a first-round pick offer. Notably, it’s been a decade since any team traded a first-round pick for a running back (Trent Richardson to the Colts), making the Colts’ request a tough sell in a climate where the value of running backs has diminished. The Colts have been seeking either a first-round pick or an equivalent package of picks, but in a year marked by devalued running back trades, the team now finds itself in a holding pattern.
Team owner Jim Irsay’s actions have played a role in exacerbating tensions with Taylor, eventually bringing matters to this point. Irsay ignited discussions with a widely debated tweet about the running back market and further fueled the fire with additional comments after a one-on-one meeting with Taylor, who was slated to be the team’s starting running back. Taylor, who is 24 years old, had expressed his desire earlier this year to retire as a Colt. However, circumstances have deteriorated significantly since that statement. While Irsay initially stated that the Colts would not trade Taylor, the team has somewhat backtracked, leading to a situation where the former All-Pro will now miss the first four games of the season.
Throughout the year, the Miami Dolphins have been actively exploring high-profile running back options. They entered the picture when the Colts opened the door for trade offers. It’s reasonable to assume that the Dolphins are one of the two teams that expressed substantial interest. Conversations between the Dolphins and the Colts likely took place over several days. However, akin to their approach with Dalvin Cook, the Dolphins have refrained from making a move. Reports suggest that the Dolphins may still consider pursuing Taylor after this Colts-imposed deadline.
This situation presents a less-than-ideal scenario for the Colts, who will commence Shane Steichen’s tenure as offensive coordinator without their premier skill-position player, even though Taylor is likely healthy. It also delays Taylor’s chance to bounce back from a challenging previous season. Taylor had endured an ankle injury last season, the most significant setback of his professional and collegiate career, sidelining him for six games. He underwent surgery in January to address this injury. Irsay had initially confirmed Taylor’s readiness for training camp, though rumors emerged suggesting the running back required additional treatment before camp (Taylor had left camp temporarily for ankle treatment). This development appears to be a form of hold-in action.
Additionally, the Colts have no plans to extend Taylor’s contract this year, rejecting his contract request during the offseason. The inability of other teams to both offer substantial compensation for Taylor and agree to an upper-tier contract has brought this situation to an impasse. With the Colts designating Taylor for the PUP list, it seems this standstill may persist for an extended duration.