Is there really a market for NFL Player Jonathan Taylor?

The recent trade request by Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor could be perceived as a straightforward appeal. However, the potential complexities of the Colts’ acquiescing to his demands and proceeding with the trade is a convoluted affair. Taylor being or not with the Colts this season will change NFL Lines.

As he approaches the last lap of his rookie contract, 24-year-old Taylor has made his desire for a new deal clear. The ongoing rift between him and Colts owner Jim Irsay has played a significant role in his decision to request a trade. Hoping for a new start and ideally a salary higher than his due $4.3 million base in 2023, Taylor’s trade request last week has sparked conversations across the league.

However, according to an insider source, the Colts are more inclined to retain Taylor. The 2020 second-round pick is still in the early stages of his career, and the team firmly believes in his potential to be a top-tier running back for the NFL in the coming years. Nevertheless, negotiations around the contract, much like the recent experiences of several other league running backs, are proving to be a delicate balancing act.

The possibility of a trade is further muddled by a myriad of factors that could hinder it. But what about a single-season agreement? Could a team desperately needing a running back agree to a trade without securing a long-term deal? Perhaps with the optimism of negotiating a contract post-season or keeping Taylor under the franchise tag. However, for a team in dire need, signing free agents like Dalvin Cook or Ezekiel Elliott could be a more budget-friendly solution than Taylor.

Using the franchise tag brings a certain degree of risk. Running back Josh Jacobs is yet to sign his $10.1 million tender with the Raiders, and it’s uncertain when he’ll report without a long-term contract in place. Saquon Barkley found himself in a similar situation with the Giants but agreed to a one-year deal with a potential to earn an extra $900,000 in incentives. If Jacobs successfully leverages a long-term deal, it might inspire a shift in how running backs approach the franchise tag in the years to come.


RB contracts fluctuate: top 5 exceed the $10.1M tag. QB deals rise, RB drop.

Johnatan TaylorFrom a financial perspective, it’s notable that five running backs currently have contracts with an average annual value surpassing the $10.1 million franchise tag. Four of these – Christian McCaffrey (2020), Alvin Kamara (2020), Derrick Henry (2020), and Nick Chubb (2021) – signed their deals years ago. The fifth, Aaron Jones, took a pay cut of $5 million this year, restructuring to a two-year, $23 million contract.

While the salaries of quarterbacks are escalating in an unprecedented manner, running back contracts have been on a downward trend. Surprisingly, the highest average annual value after the $10.1 million franchise tag is James Conner at $7 million, a sharp drop unique to the running back position.

Regardless of the perspective, this is the market environment that Taylor finds himself navigating. If any higher-paid backs become cap casualties in the next offseason, the market may see further depreciation. Other teams analyzing Taylor’s situation would not only need to consider giving up a first-round pick or a deal comparable to the 49ers’ package for McCaffrey but also need to meet Taylor’s financial expectations in a declining market.

Keeping in view the 2024 free-agent class, loaded with talent, teams are assessing their future at the position. Jacobs and Barkley could hit the open market, potentially joining the likes of Henry, Austin Ekeler, Tony Pollard, D’Andre Swift, J.K. Dobbins, Damien Harris, and AJ Dillon.

It’s only natural that teams will approach the Colts about Taylor, given his substantial talent. However, the Colts’ current preference is to seek a resolution that ensures Taylor’s stay. If circumstances turn sour to the point where trade becomes the only viable option, the Colts will need to reevaluate their strategy.

Despite the strained relationship between Taylor and the Colts, placing him on the non-football injury list seems highly unlikely, as per a league source. Such a decision could irreparably damage their relationship. For the time being, the Colts remain hopeful that the situation can be resolved. Not only is Taylor a highly valued player, but his presence or absence will make NFL Odds better or worse for Indianapolis.