As we all expected, the Indianapolis Colts did not trade Jonathan Taylor by their self-imposed deadline of Tuesday, August 29, at 4 p.m. (same time as roster cuts) and he will remain a member of the Colts for the time being. The rumors were rampant, and we will never know that truth about all the rumors. But what we as fans love to do is speculate what could have been.
The two confirmed teams that both at least had conversations with Indianapolis were the Miami Dolphins and the Green Bay Packers. Miami was no surprise, as the arms race in the AFC East continues, but Green Bay was a bit of a surprise with their current crop of running backs on the roster. Let’s look at what trades might have been discussed by the two franchises.
With the increase of talent in the AFC East this upcoming season, it’s no surprise that Miami needed to throw the next punch. The Buffalo Bills have added talent on both sides of the ball. The Jets have completely revamped their offense with the addition of Aaron Rodgers and the New England Patriots have added some new pass catchers and Zeke Elliott to support Rhamondre Stevenson.
Miami’s current running back room is led by the oft-injured Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr. and rookie Devon Achane. The Dolphins head coach, Mike McDaniel, comes from the Kyle Shanahan offensive style with a heavy dose of running the football. While these three are very capable of handling the duties, bringing in Taylor along with their wide receivers would make a nearly unstoppable force because of the consistent defensive changes that opposition would have to incorporate. Wilson would have given the Colts a serviceable back to compliment Zack Moss, Evan Hull and Deon Jackson. While he can handle a starters load from time to time, he is best as part of a committee. Wilson is under contract through the 2024 season.
Green Bay Packers
It was surprising to hear that Green Bay was the “mystery team” that had discussions about acquiring Taylor. They already have a Pro Bowl running back with Aaron Jones and a great compliment with AJ Dillon. But here’s the kicker with Green Bay, Jones contract becomes non-guaranteed after this season. He is 29 years old and is due $12 Million next season. While they would absolutely have to pay Taylor top-of-the-position money, Taylor is 24 years old opposed to Jones being 29. With an unproven quarterback in Jordan Love it would not only give him a security blanket to rely on, but it would extend that window for him to maximize his potential.
The Colts would be getting a potential bell cow back with AJ Dillon. The 2020 second-round pick out of Boston College was an absolute monster in college. He has never had the opportunity in Green Bay to be the lead guy, but he could have had a real opportunity to get the lead role in Indianapolis if this trade had been the one that was discussed. Dillon would have been attractive as well because his contract is up at the end of this season and Colts would have had the opportunity to turn a rental into permanent main stay on the roster at a reasonable price.
Which deal would Indianapolis value more?
While neither came to fruition or if they actually existed, the Green Bay deal would have benefitted Indianapolis the most. Being able to get a former second-round pick on a test run for the full-time job and one that has shown flashes of ability would be too good to pass up. Jeff Wilson Jr. is a solid player but does have some injury history where Dillon has been mostly reliable outside of missing five games in 2020 for a COVID-19 diagnosis. If Indy would’ve accepted a trade, the second hypothetical package would’ve been better.