The Colts didn’t find a trade partner for running back Jonathan Taylor, so now what?

The deadline that the Indianapolis Colts set for a Jonathan Taylor trade has passed, and he’s still with the team, so what happens now?
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) makes his way around the field Friday, July 28,
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) makes his way around the field Friday, July 28, / Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar / USA TODAY

The Indianapolis Colts made their objective clear: if Jonathan Taylor was going to be traded, he had until Tuesday, 4 p.m. ET to help the team find a suitable trade. Well, that deadline has come and gone, and Taylor is still a member of the Indianapolis Colts. Several teams did express interest in acquiring Taylor, mainly the Miami Dolphins, but in the end, Chris Ballard and the franchise didn’t see a package that they were comfortable accepting.

So what happens now? The reason this deadline was important is that it’s also when teams must have their roster down to just 53 players, and make decisions about the PUP list, which Taylor was on throughout training camp. Now that it’s clear that Taylor isn’t being traded on Tuesday, it has been announced that the running back will remain on the PUP list. That means he’s guaranteed to miss the first four weeks of the season, at least. So if Taylor plays for the Colts at all this season, the earliest that could happen is Week 5.

Jonathan Taylor remains with Colts and on PUP list

To be clear, this deadline for a trade was created by Indianapolis. Taylor can still be traded at any moment. The NFL’s trade deadline isn’t until October 31. However, with Taylor being on PUP past the deadline, he’ll have to miss the first four weeks, regardless of what team he’s on. It’s unclear if Indy will still entertain calls for Taylor or if the team is comfortable keeping the disgruntled running back through the season.

Eventually, the Colts will have to make some tough decisions with Taylor. He’ll likely return to the field at some point during this season, and it’s fair to assume that he’ll be productive, because he’s a talented player. Once that happens, Indianapolis will still have to question if the team will be able to retain Taylor beyond this season.

The 2023 season is the final year on Taylor’s rookie contract. The Colts could franchise tag Taylor next offseason, but Indy hasn’t used the tag since 2013. The tag would prevent Taylor from entering free agency, and allow Indy to either trade Taylor in 2024, or make it so that Taylor plays for Indianapolis or no one.

The other option is that Taylor plays out his contract, and the Colts allow him to enter free agency. Indy could, of course, offer Taylor a new contract, but whether or not he accepts it is up to him. With Taylor seemingly frustrated with the franchise, it’s tough to know if there’s a number that would make him willingly stay with Indianapolis.

Clearly, this saga isn’t over. Although this deadline has passed, there are still a ton of questions to be answered, the relationship between Taylor and the franchise is still fractured, and the entire thing will remain an awkward situation that the rebuilding Colts team will have to navigate moving forward.