The past couple of days have been rough for Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard. Not only did Ballard have to cut a ton of players to trim the roster down to 53 players, he’s had to deal with his best player making it clear that he no longer wants to be with the team. Despite having an opportunity to end the saga that has been a dark cloud for the Colts, Ballard opted to keep Jonathan Taylor in Indianapolis.
On Wednesday, Chris Ballard sat down with the media and talked at length about the situation between the franchise and Taylor. Ballard made it clear that there are currently no winners in this situation, emphasizing that the entire thing has sucked for the Colts, Taylor, and the fans. However, as messy as everything had been, Ballard also wanted to make it clear that he still cares about Jonathan Taylor the same way he always has, and that he believes the relationship is repairable.
Chris Ballard believes things can be repaired between Colts and Jonathan Taylor
Ballard explained that he still believes Taylor is a well-respected, really good human being that’s also a great football player. Throughout the 30-minute press conference, Ballard made it clear that the franchise still believes Taylor is the kind of player you build around, and that Indianapolis wants him to be apart of the franchise’s future. That begs the question: if all of that is the case, why not just pay Taylor?
Ballard’s response to that was simple: the Colts only won four games last season. This is the point that he and Jim Irsay have made all offseason; coming off a horrendous year, and undergoing a ton of change, the organization didn’t feel that the timing was right to extend Taylor. However, it’s also understandable that Taylor would be frustrated by that. He’s pretty much done everything right throughout his first three seasons in the NFL, and he also witnessed his teammates get paid early. So that’s how the franchise ended up in a messy stalemate with Taylor.
Regardless, the top priority for Ballard remains mending the relationship and finding a solution. Although the two sides still seem far apart, and Ballard isn’t quite sure how exactly to repair things yet, he believes there’s always a way, and he’s determined on finding that path. However, he’s also painfully aware that this situation could end with Taylor eventually walking away from the franchise, and Indy losing an elite running back for nothing.
That’s why trading Taylor on Tuesday to assure that the franchise came out of this mess with something was the easy solution. Ballard isn’t looking for an easy out, though. He’s willing to gamble losing Jonathan Taylor for nothing, as long as that gamble gives the Colts a chance to repair things and keep the running back.