According to ESPN’s Stephen Holder, the Indianapolis Colts are seeking out a first round pick or the equivalent value in any Jonathan Taylor trade—with the franchise now actively making their disgruntled star running back available to other NFL suitors:
Translation: Colts are not giving away Jonathan Taylor and the price if they trade him will be high. https://t.co/HxA52WRYVK— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 21, 2023
Despite team owner Jim Irsay indicating earlier during training camp after Taylor’s initial trade request that his team “is not trading Jonathan Taylor, end of discussion. Not now and not in October,” it appears as though that stance has clearly softened as of late.
The Colts still hold all the leverage though, as Taylor is still under contract for at least another season (and even afterward could be franchise tagged). If he sits out due to his contract situation, he eventually won’t get paid, and a year out of football could have a negative impact on maximizing his future career and prospective earnings (see: Le’Veon Bell’s prior cautionary tale).
For comparable trade value, the Carolina Panthers received a second, third, and fourth round pick, as well as a future fifth round pick, for 27 year old star running back Christian McCaffrey from the San Francisco 49ers this past season.
It appears as though the Colts aren’t willing to just give away Taylor for a discount though—and rightfully so, as he’s under contract. The franchise wants at least equal value back and should push for just as much in any possible deal, not settling for anything less.
That being said, it’s still shocking that both sides have even gotten to this precarious point.
There’s plenty of blame to go around on both sides for making these contentious contract negotiations so public and personal earlier, to the point where it’s starting to look increasingly unlikely that Taylor comes back.
Something that would’ve seemed impossible a year ago at this time and seems even more illogical considering the Colts have a top rookie quarterback now behind center.