Everyone knows by now that Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor requested a trade. It’s also pretty clear that team owner Jim Irsay has no desire to trade Taylor, saying that the team isn’t going to trade him now or at the deadline in October. Why should they? Taylor is one of the best players in the league and Indy has control of his contract for three more years.
But, it’s fair to ask, is keeping a disgruntled star player on this young Indianapolis team really what’s best for the Colts? With a rookie quarterback in Anthony Richardson and a first-year head coach in Shane Steichen, would it be smart to just make the team’s biggest problem go way by trading Taylor for a solid package, since he is one of the league’s best players?
In order for the Colts to honestly answer that question, Chris Ballard, Jim Irsay, and Jonathan Taylor all need to sit down and have some tough conversations to figure a few things out.
What Colts must ask themselves regarding a Jonathan Taylor trade
Taylor is under contract, so when he’s healthy, he’ll play this season or he’ll lose a lot of money. Indy, however, has to be honest about the plan of action, beyond this year. The team could franchise tag Taylor to ensure he’s on the roster next season, but Indianapolis hasn’t used the tag since 2013. Will they really switch things up to keep control of Taylor? If the answer is yes, then the Colts shouldn’t trade the star running back.
If the answer is no, then Indianapolis needs to know what kind of contract it’s going to take to re-sign Taylor. Although Taylor has been frustrated with the way things have played out so far, it’s fair to assume that he’ll negotiate honestly, and tell the team what a deal that would make him stay looks like. If the Colts are comfortable with that contract, they should extend Taylor and put this saga behind them. If Indy isn’t comfortable with Taylor’s demands, they should trade him.
There’s no point in keeping Taylor for the 2023 season if you know you’re going to lose him next offseason. It’s not like Indy is expected to be Super Bowl contenders, so if the team has no plans to franchise tag him or meet his contract demands, Indianapolis might as well get something in return for the elite running back, instead of losing him for nothing in free agency.
As for the best plan of action, it’d be extending Taylor. He’s proven to be an elite running back, he hasn’t had many health concerns, he’s only 24 years old, and he deserves to be paid. It’s unclear what kind of deal he’s interested in, but with a quarterback currently on his rookie deal, and a ton of cap space, this is the time for Indianapolis to load the roster with good players. Jonathan Taylor is a great player and the Colts should keep him on the roster.