NFL Colts Star Running Back Jonathan Taylor Seeks Trade
Taylor held discussions with Colts owner Jim Irsay on Saturday, a meeting Irsay characterized as “constructive,” expressing his hope for Taylor’s contribution in the upcoming season. However, following ankle surgery in January, Taylor was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list by the Colts on Tuesday, sidelining him from all of the OTAs and veteran minicamps. Now in the final year of his rookie deal and seeking an extension, the 24-year-old has been vocal about his concerns regarding the diminishing market for running backs.
During a recent practice session, Taylor was summoned by a Colts representative for an important discussion with Irsay, which took place on a bus near the field. The primary focus of the conversation was Taylor’s future with the team. However, the meeting didn’t result in a contract extension as Taylor had hoped. Instead, it led to a trade request from the player who was once a first-team All-Pro selection and considered as one of the Colts’ finest.
As for Irsay, when questioned about Taylor’s future with the Colts, he remained non-committal beyond the current season. Taylor’s rookie contract, due to end this season, entitles him to $4.3 million.
Implications for the Colts
The pressure was already mounting on the shoulders of No. 4 pick Anthony Richardson, whom the Colts are banking on as their long-term solution at quarterback. The potential absence of Taylor in the backfield during his rookie season would undoubtedly make Richardson’s task more challenging. Richardson celebrated for his outstanding physical prowess as a dual-threat quarterback, is relatively green with just 13 college starts to his name.
Taylor’s presence on the field would have undoubtedly made life easier for Richardson, and together, they could have been one of the most effective RPO tandems in the league. Although Irsay hasn’t dismissed the idea of them teaming up, it hasn’t come to fruition since Taylor’s ankle surgery.
What lies ahead for the Colts in 2023-2024?
The Colts didn’t have a stellar 2022 season, with the team spiraling downwards post the firing of Head Coach Frank Reich following a 3-5-1 start. The team’s downfall was further cemented when their offensive line collapsed, and they were unable to recover from Leonard’s injury, resulting in a dismal 4-12-1 finish. NFL Odds are not better this year.
The upcoming season might not bring much relief either. The Colts have only added Blake Freeland and Jake Witt, fourth and seventh-round picks respectively, to their offensive line. Moreover, expecting Downs, a third-round pick, to be a significant aid to Richardson in his first year could be overly optimistic.
Given the steep learning curve for many of the team’s foundational offensive pieces, the defense will have to step up its game. With the loss of sack leader Yannick Ngakoue, there’s an opportunity for Samson Ebukam, Dayo Odeyingbo, or Tyquan Lewis to become more well-rounded starters.
However, if the 2023 season sees Richardson overwhelmed in his rookie year and the team’s offensive line and pass rush fail to deliver yet again, it would imply that the Colts’ restructuring process for future years is more daunting than it appears right now. And as the roster ages and becomes more expensive, it’s vital that they maintain the strengths that have led to past successes.