With roster cutdown day having come and gone, Jonathan Taylor remains with the Colts for at least the time being. As a result, the 2021 rushing champion and the team still have time to find a way to continue their relationship, something general manager Chris Ballard recently spoke about.
Indianapolis granted Taylor permission to seek out a trade partner, and a number of teams showed interest in a trade which would, presumably, be conditional on a big-money extension being agreed to. The Dolphins and Packers are among the teams who reports have indicated would be prepared to give Taylor a deal placing him high in the RB pecking order. The Colts have not been willing to make such a commitment at this point, leading in large part to the current stalemate between player and team.
The 24-year-old will start the season on the PUP list, meaning he will be sidelined for at least the first four weeks of the season. A lingering ankle injury was named by Ballard as the reason for the designation, adding that Taylor will rehab the ailment at the team’s facility. Taylor had spent time away from the organization to recover earlier this offseason. Regarding the extension-eligible back’s contract situation, Ballard admitted he is in an unprecedented situation during his tenure while striking an optimistic tone.
“It’s where we’re at, and we’re got to work through it, and we’re going to do everything we can to work through it,” he said, via NFL.com’s Nick Schook. “Relationships are repairable. They’re repairable. When guys get emotional and take a stance, you’ve got to be able to work through those. We’ve got work to do. We got work to do on the relationship. We got work to do to find a solution to the problem and that’s what we’re gonna do.”
It remains to be seen if said solution will see Taylor play out the final year of his rookie contract in Indianapolis, or if a trade sending him elsewhere is still in the cards. A drop in asking price – a first-round pick or a similarly-valued collection of draft capital – will likely be required for the Colts to be satisfied by an offer in time for the trade deadline. In the meantime, interest will no doubt still remain around the league as Ballard and Co. set about trying to salvage the situation with their top offensive player.
With Taylor not in the picture to start the campaign, the Colts will have to move forward with Deon Jackson atop the depth chart. Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports the former UDFA will handle starting duties in Indianapolis’ season opener against the Jaguars. Jackson saw 68 carries last year, during part of which Taylor was sidelined with the ankle injury. An uptick in usage will be in order for Jackson in at least the short term.
2022 trade acquisition Zack Moss is making progress in his recovery from a broken arm, Wilson adds. Moss suffered the injury at the end of July, and his Week 1 availability was put in doubt as a result. Wilson reports that the former Bills third-rounder is expected to miss the first two or three games of the season. His return after that missed time will be welcomed given Taylor’s absence, but it will be interesting to see how much progress will have been made regarding the latter by that point.