As recently as 2021, Jonathan Taylor was one of the top three running backs in the NFL but he dealt with an ankle injury last year that hindered his production. Just recently, he talked to the Indianapolis Colts about a potential contract extension but was instead greeted with a shrug. Not pleased with the exchange he had with owner Jim Irsay, he asked for a trade and Indy just granted his request. So heading into the 2023 season, it's possible that the Jacksonville Jaguars may no longer have to face the star running back twice a year.
The Colts have given Taylor permission to seek a trade, several sources have confirmed. Although he's coming off a somewhat down year, he had a dominant campaign in 2021, when he toted the rock 332 times for 1,811 yards with 18 touchdowns.
All things considered, a healthy Taylor could give several teams (including Indianapolis) a boost on offense. However, the Colts are reportedly asking for at least a first-round pick, which could complicate a potential deal. On top of that, whichever club that pays the price to acquire the former Wisconsin Badger will also need to give him a new contract.
In spite of the hefty price, the Miami Dolphins seem to be interested in potentially trading for Taylor. While their interest could be of the exploratory variety, other teams could join the sweepstakes if the Colts are serious about moving the All-Pro running back.
It's not a given that RB Jonathan Taylor will change teams in 2023
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Chargers also gave running back Austin Ekeler permission to seek a trade. In the end, he couldn't find a suitor and will remain with the Bolts for the 2023 season. Jonathan Taylor could follow a similar path.
On one hand, Taylor wants long-term security and why wouldn't he? He plays one of the most demanding positions in the NFL and wants a contract that reflects his status as one of the Colts' most valuable players. Compared to their peers, running backs are near the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to compensation and Taylor thinks he believes he deserves to get paid at a top-market rate.
Indianapolis, on the other hand, wants to make sure Taylor is a full-go before they make a long-term commitment to him. He's still recovering from the ankle injury he sustained last year and the Colts' brass want to make sure he's the same player he was the first two years of his career, when he amassed over 3,639 yards from scrimmage and 32 total touchdowns.
The best-case scenario would be for Taylor and Indy to get on the negotiation table and compromise. The truth is that he might have a hard time finding a team that meets his salary demands while the Colts will lose an integral piece of their offense. Having Taylor around is especially important when you take into account that Anthony Richardson got the starting nod for the opener.
Without a good running game to take pressure off Richardson's shoulders, the rookie signal-caller may face a steep learning curve in the NFL.
There are a couple of weeks left before the 2023 season begins. As the saying goes, deadlines spur action and the Jacksonville Jaguars will soon find out if they'll have to face Jonathan Taylor in Week 1.