The Indianapolis Colts have given All-Pro running back Jonathan Taylor permission to seek a trade, according to multiple reports. The move comes after Taylor expressed his frustration over his contract situation and his role in the new offense under coordinator Shane Steichen. Taylor, who led the NFL in rushing yards last season, is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is seeking a lucrative extension. However, the Colts have not been willing to meet his demands and have reportedly set a high asking price for any potential trade.
Taylor’s value and market
Taylor is undoubtedly one of the best running backs in the league, as he proved in his breakout 2021 campaign. He rushed for 1,829 yards and 17 touchdowns on 331 carries, averaging 5.5 yards per attempt. He also added 36 receptions for 299 yards and another score, showing his versatility as a receiver. He was named to the Pro Bowl and the first-team All-Pro, and finished second in the MVP voting behind Aaron Rodgers.
However, running backs are notoriously undervalued in today’s NFL, as teams are reluctant to pay premium money for a position that has a short shelf life and is often replaceable by cheaper options. The Colts have also invested heavily in their offensive line, which is widely regarded as one of the best in the league. They may feel that they can get similar production from other backs behind their dominant front five.
The Colts are reportedly seeking a first-round pick or a package of picks equivalent to that value for Taylor, which is a steep price for any team to pay. However, there may be some teams that are willing to take a gamble on Taylor, especially if they are in win-now mode and have a need at running back. Here are some of the potential suitors for Taylor:
Dolphins expected to explore trade for Taylor
One of the teams that has been linked to Taylor is the Miami Dolphins, who are expected to explore a trade for the Colts star, according to Bleacher Report. The Dolphins have a young and talented roster that made a 10-win improvement last season and narrowly missed the playoffs. They have an aggressive front office that has shown a willingness to make bold moves, such as trading for cornerback Byron Jones and drafting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
The Dolphins also have a glaring need at running back, as they ranked 22nd in rushing yards and 29th in rushing touchdowns last season. Their leading rusher was Myles Gaskin, who had 584 yards and three touchdowns on 142 carries. They did not address the position in free agency or the draft, despite having multiple picks in the first three rounds.
The Dolphins have the draft capital to make a trade for Taylor, as they own two first-round picks and two second-round picks in 2024, thanks to their previous trades with the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans. They could also offer some young players to sweeten the deal, such as defensive end Christian Wilkins or wide receiver Preston Williams.
Taylor would be a huge upgrade for the Dolphins’ offense, as he would provide a dynamic and explosive threat in the backfield. He would also take some pressure off Tagovailoa, who is entering his second season as the starter and is still developing as a passer. Taylor would also reunite with his former Wisconsin teammate Michael Deiter, who is projected to start at center for the Dolphins.
Rams could make a splash for Taylor
Another team that could make a splash for Taylor is the Los Angeles Rams, who are known for their aggressive approach to roster building. The Rams have traded away their first-round picks for seven consecutive years, acquiring players such as Jalen Ramsey, Brandin Cooks, Sammy Watkins and Matthew Stafford. They have also handed out big contracts to players such as Aaron Donald, Todd Gurley and Jared Goff.
The Rams are clearly in win-now mode, as they have one of the most talented rosters in the league and are coming off a 10-6 season that saw them reach the divisional round of the playoffs. They have high expectations for this season, especially after trading for Stafford, who is an upgrade over Goff at quarterback.
The Rams could use some help at running back, as they lost their leading rusher Cam Akers to a torn Achilles tendon before training camp. They are left with Darrell Henderson, who had 624 yards and five touchdowns on 138 carries last season, and some unproven backups such as Xavier Jones and Jake Funk.
The Rams do not have much draft capital to offer for Taylor, as they do not own a first-round pick until 2025. However, they could try to package some of their later picks or some of their veteran players to entice the Colts. For example, they could offer wide receiver Robert Woods or tight end Tyler Higbee, who both have sizable contracts that could create some cap space for the Rams.
Taylor would be a perfect fit for the Rams’ offense, as he would give them a dynamic and explosive threat in the backfield. He would also complement Stafford’s arm strength and Sean McVay’s play-calling, creating a balanced and potent attack. Taylor would also reunite with his former Wisconsin teammate David Edwards, who is projected to start at right guard for the Rams.
Other possible destinations for Taylor
There are some other teams that could be interested in Taylor, depending on their situation and needs. For example, the Buffalo Bills could use a reliable and consistent running back to pair with Josh Allen and their explosive passing game. The Bills ranked 20th in rushing yards and 17th in rushing touchdowns last season, and their leading rusher was Devin Singletary, who had 687 yards and two touchdowns on 156 carries.
The New York Jets could also use a star running back to help their rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and their new head coach Robert Saleh. The Jets ranked 23rd in rushing yards and 31st in rushing touchdowns last season, and their leading rusher was Frank Gore, who had 653 yards and two touchdowns on 187 carries at age 37.
The Seattle Seahawks could also be in the market for a running back, as they have been plagued by injuries and inconsistency at the position. The Seahawks ranked 12th in rushing yards and 15th in rushing touchdowns last season, but their leading rusher Chris Carson missed four games due to injury and is entering the final year of his contract.
Taylor is one of the best running backs in the league, and he could make a significant impact on any team that acquires him. However, the Colts have set a high asking price for him, and they may not be willing to part ways with him unless they get an offer they can’t refuse. Taylor’s trade saga is one of the most intriguing stories of the offseason, and it will be interesting to see how it unfolds.