After initially rebuffing the trade request of running back Jonathan Taylor, the Indianapolis Colts have reportedly granted the All-Pro permission to seek a trade. Taylor had been seeking a lucrative, long-term deal with the organization to no luck and officially requested a trade in July. Colts owner Jim Irsay was adamant about not trading his star tailback, but has now apparently reversed course and will allow the running back and agent Malki Kawa to call around for potential suitors.
Taylor is coming off a 2022 season that was cut short by an ankle injury and is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. Any potential trade partner would most likely want the lock the 2021 NFL rushing champion into a longterm deal. Meanwhile, the Colts are also reportedly seeking a first-round pick in exchange for the playmaker. Given the increasing devaluation of franchise running backs, there may not be many organizations willing to give the running back or the Colts what they want.
Nevertheless, we’ll take a look at a few running back-needy teams that could be a good landing spot for Taylor.
As soon as the news broke on Monday, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that the Dolphins would explore the possibility of Taylor’s services. The team has spent the past few seasons building a solid aerial attack for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle being the two game-breaking receivers in the offense. However, the run game has been lacking as the team finished near the bottom league in rushing a year ago with just 1,686 yards and 12 touchdowns for the season. Returning starter Raheem Mostert is capable of putting up decent numbers, but a powerful back like Taylor could elevate the Dolphins up the AFC pecking order.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay’s offense was putrid last season and part of its struggles was its inability to run the ball. The Bucs had the league’s worst rushing attack in 2022, finishing the season with a measly 1,308 yards on 3.4 yards per carry and 3.4 yards per carry. Rachaad White showed flashes of potential as a rookie last season and will be the team’s starter heading into 2023. However, he’s still somewhat of an unproven commodity and a running back of Taylor’s quality would be an instant upgrade. The organization had heavy interest in drafting Taylor in 2020 before the Colts beat them to the punch in the second round. This would be an opportunity for them close that loop.
Baltimore narrowly tightroped out of danger in the offseason with the organization finally coming to terms with quarterback Lamar Jackson on a long-term deal. The team also added weapons to its receiving room with the drafting of Zay Flowers and signing of veteran Odell Beckham Jr. A potential trade for Taylor could be the final piece of the puzzle that vaults the Ravens back into Super Bowl contender status. Even with his injuries, Jackson has ended up leading the team in rushing for the past four seasons as the Baltimore running back room has been a revolving door. Current starter JK Dobbins has been extremely limited for the past few seasons due to knee injury and he has yet to log a full season as a starter. A healthy Taylor would add a lethal dimension to this offense and make them one of the more feared units in the league.
Buffalo has been near the top of the list of Super Bowl contenders for the past few seasons, but has been tripped up by both the Chiefs and Bengals in the AFC playoffs. The Bills’ lack of an adequate rushing attack has been cited as one of their biggest weakness and a Taylor would solve that problem in a hurry. Similar to the Bucs, the Bills will have a second-year running back in James Cook toting the rock and while the potential is there, he’s still an unproven commodity. A reliable All-Pro like Taylor would alter the dynamic of the offense as it would take pressure of quarterback Josh Allen to use his legs as a rusher as often as he does. That would have positive ripple effects for later on as Allen wouldn’t have as much wear and tear in the postseason. With their Super Bowl window currently open, one would imagine the Bills wouldn’t have too much of an issue parting ways with a first-rounder if it means acquiring a talent like Taylor.