Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor has requested a trade after meeting with team owner Jim Irsay on Saturday, according to FOX Sports’ Ben Arthur. The news was first reported by NFL Network. Taylor is eligible for an extension, but Irsay told reporters that the team remains set against working on such a deal.
ESPN reported Saturday that Taylor had first requested a trade several days ago, and the team appeared open to it.
“If I die tonight and Jonathan Taylor is out of the league, no one’s gonna miss us,” Irsay told reporters Saturday, 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.”
Taylor was limited to 11 games last season due to an ankle injury, rushing for 861 yards and four touchdowns on 4.5 yards per carry. The year prior, Taylor ran circles around NFL defenses, rushing for a league-high 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns on 5.5 yards per carry. In Taylor’s rookie season (2020), he surpassed 1,000 rushing yards (1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground).
In recent memory, the annual rate for elite running backs has been in the $10-15 million range with a handful of backs struggling to even sign long-term deals.
Saquon Barkley (New York Giants), a two-time Pro Bowler, Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas Raiders), the NFL’s leading rusher last season, and Tony Pollard, who’s coming off a career year with the Dallas Cowboys, had the $10.1 million running back franchise tag placed on them this offseason — with Barkley negotiating a revised one-year deal earlier in the week.
Today’s RBs are damned if they do, damned if they don’t’ — Skip Bayless
Alvin Kamara (five-year, $75 million deal with the New Orleans Saints), Christian McCaffrey (four-year, $64.1 million deal now with the San Francisco 49ers), Derrick Henry (four-year, $50 million deal with the Tennessee Titans), Aaron Jones (four-year, $48 million deal with the Green Bay Packers) and Nick Chubb (three-year, $36.6 million deal with the Cleveland Browns) have the largest contracts among running backs. With that said, Kamara and McCaffrey signed those contracts in 2020, while Jones and Chubb inked their deals in 2021.
Taylor has been among the backs to discuss the situation publicly, as he was one of a handful of players who were part of an organized running back Zoom call last weekend.
Irsay threw gasoline all over Taylor’s contract situation and the running back climate at large earlier in the week, tweeting that some agents are selling “bad faith” to their clients. This was followed by Malki Kawa, one of Taylor’s agents at First Round Management, quoting Irsay’s Tweet, saying “Bad faith is not paying your top offensive player.”
The Colts are coming off a 4-12-1 season that saw them fire head coach Frank Reich after nine games and blow a 33-0 second-half lead to the Minnesota Vikings. They hope new head coach Shane Steichen, a healthy Taylor and rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, who the Colts selected with the No. 4 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft out of Florida, right the ship for the franchise next season.
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