Recently, the Indianapolis Colts gave star running back Jonathan Taylor permission to seek a trade. The news came after a bounty of troubles caused within the Colts’ organization due to Taylor’s contract demands. These troubles included public statements from Colts owner Jim Irsay. In April, everything seemed to be going well between Taylor and the team.
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Before the draft, Taylor gave an interview amid the controversy about paying running backs. In this interview, Taylor stated that, though he was disappointed, he still had one year left on his contract with the Colts and planned to play it out. The interview would be the last time JT personally spoke to the media. Afterward, Taylor hired a new agent, RBs around the league had a concerned Zoom meeting, and now he wants out.
As a Colts fan, I have no issues with trading Taylor. The caveat is that the Colts receive a trade package in return akin to what the 49ers gave up for Christian McCaffrey last season. Trade compensation will depend heavily on whether Taylor will demand a contract extension with his new team. Taylor also has health questions, though it’s unknown whether that’s related to contract disputes. The bare minimum to expect in any trade the Colts accept would be a 2nd round pick plus some other assets. The team is currently looking for a package of or equal to a 1st round pick, though that seems unlikely.
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The Dolphins are the obvious team to talk about in potential Jonathan Taylor trade destinations. Miami has been in play for every RB on the market this offseason. Before bringing back Jeff Wilson Jr. and Raheem Mostert, the team pursued a trade for Vikings RB Dalvin Cook. After the Vikings cut Cook, the Dolphins pursued him again, but they lost out to the Jets. They drafted RB De’Von Achane in the third round, though it’s unknown how involved he will be in the backfield this year. Now, the Dolphins can grab a bona fide top-five running back in the league, further pursuing their all-in attempt at a Super Bowl.
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The Bears would be another exciting landing spot for Taylor, as they are currently boasting one of the least inspiring RB rooms in the league. The addition of Taylor could have the same effect the Colts hoped to have when drafting Anthony Richardson. Justin Fields and Jonathan Taylor would make for one the most dynamic backfields in the league, one that other teams would fear.
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The Bears are doing everything to ensure they know whether Justin Fields is their guy, and adding Taylor would give him no further excuses if he doesn’t improve. From the Colts’ perspective, a Chicago 2nd round pick in 2024 is the most desirable asset from any of these teams. Throw in one of Khalil Herbert or Roschon Johnson, and we may have a deal.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have probably imagined Jonathan Taylor on their team ever since they drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire over him in the 2020 NFL draft. Now, they have an opportunity to acquire the star RB. A trade with the Chiefs would require more than a 2nd, as everyone expects that second to be at the backend of the round. Throw in RB Isaiah Pacheco and a couple of mid-round picks, and Kansas City could have a new star in their backfield.
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The Chiefs are the least likely option here, as it’s unknown if they would be willing to hand Taylor the large contract he desires. KC didn’t want to give WR Tyreek Hill a monster new contract and traded him away for assets instead. It seems unlikely that they will now make the opposite move for a less valuable position.
The Eagles have been linked to JT ever since the news came out that the Colts were letting him seek a trade. The Eagles have built a makeshift RB room over the offseason after former 2nd-round pick RB Miles Sanders went to the Carolina Panthers. They traded for RB D’Andre Swift from the Detroit Lions and signed former Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny. This is in addition to 2021 fifth-rounder Kenneth Gainwell and 2018 signing Boston Scott.
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Their group is good on paper but comes with two massive injury concerns. The potential of Taylor behind their offensive line would be huge, and they could include one of their four running backs in the trade. The Colts and Eagles have strong links, as Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni is the Colts’ former OC, and Colts’ head coach Shane Steichen is Sirianni’s former OC. Like the Chiefs, I’d expect a mid-round pick to be included with a second-rounder.