Very suddenly and rather unexpectedly, Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts are on the outs. Late last week and over the weekend Jim Irsay, for some reason, thought it would be a good idea to give his opinion on running back contracts as Taylor was holding out for an extension; he is entering the final year of his contract. A subsequent meeting between the All-Pro running back and Irsay went so poorly that Taylor demanded a trade. Irsay said the Colts aren't going to do that and then someone leaked a threat from Indy-- that they might place Taylor on the non-football injury list after he said he had "back pain" caused by an offsite workout (which means they wouldn't have to pay him and he wouldn't be able to hit free agency next year).
Taylor responded with this tweet. Everything suggests the two sides are not going to make up anytime soon.
As previously stated the Colts have no intention of trading Taylor and there is not a very healthy market out there anyway. The value of a star running back has never been lower and there are basically no teams interested in giving up assets for Taylor and then giving him the contract extension he seeks. From initial reports on trade possibilities it seems the Colts do not want to give him away for free if they do have to trade Taylor, too.
All of that makes sense and obviously suggests that a trade is not in the cards. However, this is already pretty ugly and happened very much in the public eye. An explosive dispute like this is not good for anybody and Indianapolis might decide they want to be rid of the Taylor headache regardless of the return. Taylor might then decide he's better off playing for his new team and hoping to cash in after a big year despite a strong free agent running back class in 2024.
If all that comes to pass and the Colts do offload their star running back, here are a few possible landing spots for Taylor.
The Ravens surely like their running back room but they haven't got a healthy and productive year out of anybody currently situated to receive big snaps. They also seem interested in maximizing the first year of Lamar Jackson's massive new contract. Giving up a low pick or something like that for a year of Taylor would be a smart move. He had 40 catches out of the backfield during his breakout season in 2021 so there's reason to believe he can make a positive impact with Jackson stealiing some of his carries. Baltimore already has one mercenary on the team in Odell Beckham Jr., why not make it two?
Taylor would help the Cowboys continue their time-honored tradition of forcing Tony Pollard to split snaps with another running back. In all seriousness the Cowboys do make some sense. Jerry Jones is all-in every year and the pressure is mounting on this expensive team to win meaningful games. The mindset of the front office should be to do anything that gets them closer to that goal. Taylor would certainly do that with his sheer talent and from a roster management perspective it would be smart to get some insurance given Pollard's nasty injury. It probably would not please either player to have to compete against each other in a contract year but the Cowboys would benefit.
New York Jets
The Jets are *that* team now. The team that has to be included in any list for a star player because they are very, very invested in making sure they win games aplenty immediately. And running back is one position that is still a little up in the air in Aaron Rodgers' new offense. Breece Hall was a stud last season but tore his ACL and like the Cowboys' situation above it makes sense to get some backup insurance. Taylor would be a great addition to a star-studded offense and can serve as the thunder to Hall's lightening. Then after the season the Jets can let him walk and enjoy a fully healthy Hall the following season. New York is undoubtedly not eager to give out more picks but if the opportunity presents itself they should go for it.