Tuesday’s team-imposed trade deadline on Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor has come and passed, with the outcome being no outcome at all — at least on the trade front.
Though he’ll remain with the Colts for now, whether or not Taylor will tote the rock for Indy again remains to be seen, especially with this latest development in his topsy-turvy summer.
Will Jonathan Taylor Suit up for the Colts This Season?
No deal: Indianapolis did not find what it felt was a fair-value offer for Jonathan Taylor and it is not trading its All-Pro running back today, league sources tell ESPN.
With no trade materializing today, Taylor now is expected to remain on the Physically Unable to Perform… pic.twitter.com/TvBXpIJCoc
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 29, 2023
Taylor has reportedly been nursing an ankle injury, but his inclusion on the PUP list feels more strategic than injury-related. The Colts are in the thick of a rebuild, after all. If they want to ultimately recoup some value for Taylor in a trade, it’d make sense to preserve the 24-year-old back’s health.
The longer this saga goes on, the more likely it seems to end in divorce. Taylor’s been in a month-long staring contest with the Colts and owner Jim Irsay ever since the star runner requested a trade back in July.
Irsay was adamant, if not a bit crass, in his initial, rigid denial of that request.
“I mean, if I die tonight and Jonathan Taylor’s out of the league, no one’s going to miss us,” he told reporters.
“The league goes on. We know that. The National Football (League) rolls on. It doesn’t matter who comes and who goes, and it’s a privilege to be part of it. Now’s the time for us to do our work. Now’s the time as an organization. And, you know, players who are 24, 25 years old, now’s the time to seize the moment.”
Around that same time, Irsay also weighed in on the running back market on X (formerly known as Twitter). His comments proved especially noteworthy given how closely tied they seemed to be to his ongoing dispute with Taylor.
The irony of this was not lost on Taylor’s agent, Malki Kawa.
Bad faith is not paying your top offensive player https://t.co/ZYvrLhxygG
— malki kawa (@malkikawa) July 27, 2023
Taylor’s been among the league’s most prominent playmakers since being drafted in the second round back in 2020. He piled up 1,468 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns in his rookie season.
His follow-up campaign in 2021 was even better. Taylor led the league with 1,811 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns. He was a weapon in the passing game as well, with 40 catches for 360 yards and two more scores through the air.
Part of the reason Indy might be more open to moving Taylor is the downturn his production took in 2022. He had a career-worst season by virtually every metric: yardage, touchdowns, efficiency, durability, etc. He missed six games due to injury and finished with under 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.
The other running backs on Indy’s roster — Zack Moss, Deon Jackson, and Evan Hull — don’t exactly inspire confidence. Moss is the most proven among them and produced well in relief of Taylor last year, piling up 334 rushing yards in a four-game stretch near the season’s end.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that Moss remains a change-of-pace guy. Taylor and the Colts could smooth things over, and he’s back in early October, carrying the mail and propping up exciting young QB Anthony Richardson.
Despite substantive interest from two teams, as reported, the #Colts made the decision not to deal RB Jonathan Taylor at this time. A trade is not immediately imminent, per source. The paper deadline to Taylor's reps was today. The official 2023 NFL trade deadline is actually…
— JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 29, 2023
Then again, today’s so-called “trade deadline” imposed on Taylor by the Colts is totally arbitrary. The actual trade deadline, as noted by Josina Anderson above, is not until Halloween.
Which means you probably shouldn’t count on Taylor carrying the rock for Indianapolis again until you see it with your own two eyes.