As the Indianapolis Colts entered training camp, they did so with one of their best players not exactly happy with his current contract situation. Running back Jonathan Taylor, who is just two years removed from an 1,811 yard rushing season in his sophomore campaign, is entering the last year of his rookie deal and wants an extension. The Colts aren’t particularly interested in making the long-term offer he wants, and as such he has been clearly frustrated as camp has begun.
Taylor has been among the many running backs to voice their frustration with the general running back market on social media, prompting Colts owner Jim Irsay to tweet about the overall running back situation, but very clearly sending a message to Taylor.
NFL Running Back situation- We have negotiated a CBA,that took years of effort and hard work and compromise in good faith by both sides..to say now that a specific Player category wants another negotiation after the fact,is inappropriate. Some Agents are selling ‘bad faith’..
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) July 26, 2023
The response to that came from Taylor’s agent, making it clear this was going to get messy.
Bad faith is not paying your top offensive player https://t.co/ZYvrLhxygG
— malki kawa (@malkikawa) July 27, 2023
Things got so bad that on Saturday, Irsay and Taylor had a meeting and the only thing that came out of it was Taylor requesting a trade, per Ian Rapoport.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 30, 2023
Irsay’s response to the trade request was…dark.
#Colts owner Jim Irsay: “If I die tonight and Jonathan Taylor is out of the league, no one’s gonna miss us. 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.”
— James Boyd (@RomeovilleKid) July 30, 2023
That’s a pretty wild statement to make, but it’s clear he doesn’t plan on budging on his stance in these negotiations and now Taylor will do what he can to find a new team that will pay him what he believes he’s proven to be worth.
Last year, Taylor rushed for 861 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games, battling injuries and just generally dealing with the issues of trying to run the ball when your team has almost no passing attack to threaten defenses. In his first two years, Taylor rushed for just shy of 3,000 yards combined and 29 touchdowns, earning All-Pro honors for his sensational second season. His talents are clear, but what remains to be seen is whether there’s a team out there willing to trade for him knowing he wants a long-term deal wherever he goes.
From Taylor’s side, it’s more than understandable to want to get some financial security after being on a discount making less than $2 million per year. While there are teams willing to pay for a big-time back, it’s not league-wide and he’ll have to hope some team sees his productivity and views him as a franchise type player they want to trade for. Meanwhile the Colts are now staring at the potential of having their new rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson having to start the season without the safety blanket of one of the league’s best running backs.