Another running back falls in the latest running saga and now it’s Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts. After being left disgruntled in his search for a new contract while entering the final year of his rookie contract, the final dam broke today.
Jim Irsay met the running back in his bus and came out and said that a contract extension was not discussed. What was left unsaid was what was potentially discussed. There has been friction between Jonathan Taylor and the owner after the latter fired off an ill-advised missive against the idea of running backs organizing and fighting for better pay structure. For better or worse, his own running back took the comments personally.
Now, after no resolution was reached after they met each other, Jonathan Taylor has reportedly requested for a trade. Even with the running back market in the NFL in doldrums, there is a chance for him to find a suitable landing spot. We look at some of the top options that might be available to him.
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Jonathan Taylor’s potential destinations after trade request
#1 – New York Jets
There has been a lot of noise about free agent Dalvin Cook meeting with the New York Jets. As the franchise looks to make a legitimate claim to the Super Bowl after getting Aaron Rodgers in the offseason, it is looking at an elite running back to provide options.
Dalvin Cook is definitely an intriguing prospect given he is a free agent. But there is the added conundrum that he faces a lawsuit that pertaining to physical abuse. He has countersued and is challenging the claims, but it might mean that teams are unwilling to bet the house on him lest he be suspended later in the season.
Now that Jonathan Taylor might be willing to be traded, he might find an option with the New York Jets. They have the cap space after Aaron Rodgers took a $35 million pay cut on his contract and they could offer him an ability to compete for championships. However, one hiccup might be that they have given up draft picks for the Rodgers trade to Green Bay and might not be willing to part with more.
But if they are going all-in this season and there are question marks on Dalvin Cook off the field, then the current Colts running back might become an option.
#2 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rachaad White, Chase Edmonds, Ke’Shawn Vaughn are the primary running backs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last season, they struggled mightighly in the running game, so much so that a quarterback as talented as Tom Brady was made to look pedestrian. Of course, the situation is not helped with an offensive line that has its own problems.
But this season the situation might be even worse. The NFC South contenders have strengthened with Carolina Panthers getting a new quarterback, New Orleans Saints getting Derek Carr and the Atlanta Falcons drafting Bijan Robinson and giving a chance to Desmond Ridder. Tom Brady has retired and they are stuck with Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. Getting some help in the running game might not be the worst idea.
Jonathan Taylor can certainly help in this regard. He would also be going to the NFC instead of the AFC, which might make the Indianapolis Colts more amenable to agree to this trade.
#3 – Arizona Cardinals
Another NFC team that is in the midst of a rebuild are the Arizona Cardinals. Kyler Murray is expected to return from his injury last season, but it is fair to say that they are not expected to compete at the top levels this season. Their primary running back rotation of James Conner, Keaontay Ingram and Corey Clement does not inspire fear in opposing defenses.
James Conner’s form dipped last season and could be a cause of concern. Ingram has an average of 2.2 yards per carry. They have also let go of DeAndre Hopkins, making it so that their receiving threat is not what it was last year. On defense, J.J. Watt has retired. They could definitely use an elite running back to ease some pressure on both sides of the ball and remain competitive.
Jonathan Taylor fits that bill nicely. He has been an elite performer with more than 3,800 rushing yards in three seasons. He also has a remarkable average of 5.1 yards per carry. He would be an upgrade in that position for the Arizona Cardinals and they could look to trade for him.
Ultimately, though, the running back market remains so slim, it is unknown if the Colts running back will get his desire of a new team. After the likes of Saquon Barkley struggled so hard to get paid, it does not look likely that anything will be different in the case of Jonathan Taylor.
But he will certainly be keeping his fingers crossed that some of the teams above can see his value and rescue him from the situation he finds himself in Indianapolis.