Jonathan Taylor is officially on the clock. The Colts, who recently granted Taylor permission to seek a trade, are giving the star running back until Tuesday to find a suitable trade partner, according to ESPN. Taylor may be in luck, as the Miami Dolphins are in talks with the Colts about possibly landing Taylor, according to the Miami Herald.
Six teams have inquired about Taylor’s availability, according to ESPN’s report, with the Dolphins surely being one of them.
The franchise had previously been adamant about keeping the former second-round pick, who has been seeking a new contract. The Colts are reportedly looking for a first-round pick in return or a package of picks that equate to as much.
The Colts were reportedly considering placing Taylor on the non-football injury list (NFI). Taylor supposedly suffered an injury to his back while working out on his own in Arizona, and he’s also still rehabbing from January ankle surgery. Taylor has since said that he’s never had a back issue.
Taylor has been in and out of the Colts facility due to treatment and what was, but team owner Jim Irsay said during Indy’s preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears that the star running back is again back in the fold.
“We’re excited to have Jonathan Taylor back,” Irsay said, via NFL Media. “I know these things are always difficult, I respect any time people are, they’re trying to fight for their position for their families and all those things. And, you know, I’ve been around it so long that I just think the biggest thing that I preach is timing is everything. We’re really looking forward to him to playing his way into being the Jonathan Taylor he was. And we’re really excited to have him and we want to do everything we can to support him and embrace him as a Colt, ’cause he’s a great young man. I can’t say enough about him and his family. Look at you have these problems, you know how it is. You never go in with no problems at all. These days you hope you have less contractual problems because the way the CBA is and they work a lot of things through. But you have them and that’s what I know Chris Ballard is going to work hard on and try to get the waters as calm as they can and go forward.”
Taylor is entering the final year of his rookie contract and has merited an extension from the team that made him a second-round pick three years ago. In three seasons with the Colts, Taylor has rushed for 3,841 yards and 33 touchdowns while also having 802 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He’s the second-fastest player in team history to rush for 3,000 yards (33 games), as only Edgerrin James was faster (30 games). His 36 touchdowns are the second most by a Colts player after their first three seasons.
Irsay admitted no contract talks have taken place with Taylor, not even exchanging any numbers. As the running back market continues to get worse, Taylor chimed in his thoughts last month on running backs not getting paid.
Irsay made matters worse after Taylor asked to be traded with some bizarre comments. The Colts owner has made controversial statements regrading Taylor recently, but this one hit a different level.
“If I die tonight and Jonathan Taylor is out of the league, no one’s gonna miss us, Irsay said, per The Athletic. “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 a part of it.”
Regardless of Irsay’s comments, he also told Sports Illustrated the team has no intentions of trading Taylor.
“We’re not trading Jonathan… end of discussion,” Irsay said. “Not now and not in October!”
The Coltsveteran running back Kenyan Drake to add more depth to the position after backup Zack Moss broke his arm. He’ll be out roughly four to six weeks, per ESPN.
Taylor’s days in Indianapolis appear to be over, as he can also choose to not play despite what Irsay says. Regardless of a devalued running back market, Taylor is one of the league’s top players at his position.
Here’s an early look at potential landing spots for Taylor:
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel likes to use the running back-by-committee approach, which will save the tread on Taylor’s tires as the season wears on. Is that needed?
Miami didn’t win the Dalvin Cook sweepstakes, but it apparently has interest in the Colts’ disgruntled star back. The Dolphins are indeed exploring a trade for Taylor, according to the Miami Herald.
The Dolphins still have a solid rotation with Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, as they combined to average 4.8 yards per carry last season. Rookie De’Von Achane provides even more speed in the backfield, giving a Miami a solid trio between the three.
Taylor would be the No. 1 back in Miami, regardless of what McDaniel wants to do with his rotation. That may be the move to put the Dolphins over the top in the AFC East.
The Buccaneers moved on from Leonard Fournette this offseason in favor of Rachaad White and Chase Edmonds. Tampa Bay will rely on White to be the featured back in the offense, but Taylor would provide a much-needed boost for an offense that already has two good skill position players in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Taylor would also take significant pressure off Baker Mayfield to carry the offense as well.
Dallas has the second most salary cap space in the league with $21.5 million. After parting ways with Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys are left with a void at the position. Tony Pollard has been an efficient weapon for the NFC contender but Taylor would give them a dynamic weapon that owner Jerry Jones so often covets.
The Cowboys may be more inclined to conserve its salary cap space to re-sign wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and edge rusher Micah Parsons, but Jones may not be able to help himself.
Former Colts head coach Frank Reich landed in Carolina this off-season. The coach had a good relationship with the running back and the Panthers have the fourth most salary cap space available. The franchise traded away running back Christian McCaffrey at the trade deadline last year and Taylor would go a long way toward taking some of the pressure off of No. 1 overall selection Bryce Young.
Carolina has a shortage of draft capital as a result of the trade to move up for the right to select Young, but there may not be a better opportunity to add a dynamic offensive weapon like Taylor.