Much has transpired this offseason regarding the running back market. From the league’s top backs calling out NFL GMs, to some requesting trades, to others not signing their franchise tags, this offseason hasn’t been normal. Now, the biggest news surrounds Colts runningback Jonathan Taylor and his request to be traded.
Obviously the NFL’s top runningbacks have been vocal about how they feel underappreciated. Now, you have Jonathan Taylor requesting a trade from the franchise that drafted him only a few years back. A few days ago, Ian Rapoport tweeted, “Hope this relationship can be fixed.” To which Taylor’s agent responded, “I doubt it.” To discuss their relationship and Taylor’s future with the organization, Taylor met with Colts GM Jim Irsay. Obviously, the meeting didn’t go over well with Taylor’s side, pushing him to request a trade.
It’s a significant blow to the Colts who were going to lean heavily on Taylor this year while they nurture their rookie QB, Anthony Richardson. The Colts still have solid backups in veteran Zach Moss and fellow rookie Evan Hull, but neither can produce at the same output as Taylor. One thing is now for sure, the Colts will need to rely more on Richardson running the ball to keep defenses on more their toes.
What is Taylor trade value?
Is a trade likely? Possibly, but I don’t think so. Austin Ekeler, another All-Pro running back requested a trade earlier in the offseason but wasn’t able to find a suiter who’d give up what was required to complete the trade. Before that happened, another All-Pro RB in Dalvin Cook was released from the Vikings and is still searching from a team despite garnering interest across the league.
However, if a trade does occur, don’t expect Taylor to get his payday. It isn’t that a team has a problem with giving RBs extensions, it’s about the amount of money they’re asking. Although a good ground game is vital to a team’s success, teams just aren’t willing to overpay for RBs like they are for other positions.
Because of this, the compensation for Taylor also may not be up to par with his value. In reality, a player of his caliber is worth at least a single third round pick. However, with Taylor wanting a payday, teams might be trading for him with the idea of a one year rental. This will greatly reduce his value since teams won’t want to overdo it for only one year.
Is Jonathan Taylor a great player? Yes. Could he be a difference maker for any team? Yes. Is he a top five RB in today’s NFL? Possibly. Still, fact of the matter remains that today’s markets don’t favor the running back position. Around the league, specifically with teams such as the Chiefs, Dolphins, Bills, and 49ers pre-McCaffrey, franchises are figuring out how to win games by combining a creative playcaller, a good offensive line, and speed in the backfield.
For more NFL content click here.