Jonathan Taylor’s time with the Indianapolis Colts seems to be coming to a swift end.
The star running back, who is currently in on the PUP list, is entangled in a contract dispute with the club and has asked for a trade. The Colts gave him permission to seek one, and things appear to be moving in that direction.
However, Indianapolis does not have to move Taylor. If it simply chooses to pay him what he desires, it can keep him for the long haul.
Here are three reasons why the Colts must keep Taylor.
Anthony Richardson Needs Help
Indianapolis is clearly in rebuilding mode, as evidenced by the fact that the club is rolling with rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson as its starter.
Wouldn’t it be nice for Taylor to join Richardson once the halfback becomes eligible to play in Week 5?
The Colts don’t have a ton of weapons offensively. It’s basically Michael Pittman Jr. and, well, not a whole lot else. They have some decent ancillary pieces such as young tight end Kylen Granson, but nobody is gameplanning on how to stop Granson.
Teams absolutely gameplan for Taylor, however.
Taylor would make Richardson’s job a heck of a lot easier, providing him with a stable presence in the backfield, both as a rusher and as a pass-catcher in checkdown situations.
Sure, Indy still needs more offensive help overall, but subtracting Taylor would only make circumstances far more difficult for its young signal-caller.
Jonathan Taylor is Still Young
It’s not like Taylor is in his upper 20s; he is still just 24 years old, and he will not hit 25 until mid-January.
If Taylor were an older running back, I could certainly see the Colts being hesitant to keep him around, but he still has plenty of juice left in the tank. Barring injuries, you have to think he still has around five years of elite football left in him.
Plus, Taylor’s youth will allow him to grow alongside of Richardson. This would give Indianapolis a very impressive young tandem to build around for at least the next several years.
While I am typically not a fan of handing halfbacks big chunks of change because of the risk factor and their short shelf lives, this situation is a little different. Again, Taylor is only 24. Giving him a new deal would ensure that Indy would be comfortable at the position for the next few seasons.
The AFC South is Winnable
Are the Colts legitimate contenders by any means? No, but sometimes, if your division is poor enough, that doesn’t matter.
The AFC South is not exactly a loaded division. The Jacksonville Jaguars are probably the best team on paper, but they are just 1-1. It’s hard to see them pulling away from the field.
And who is Indianapolis’ other competition? The Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans? Yeah, I’ll take my chances with the Colts.
If Indy keeps Taylor on the roster, he can get back on the field in Week 5 and help the team make a push for the division crown. But if the Colts trade him, they will be left with a rather bare backfield. Of course, they could also receive a running back in return in a potential Taylor trade, but it surely won’t be anyone of much substance (or at least not even close to Taylor’s level).
Retaining Jonathan Taylor would allow Indianapolis to play some meaningful football in 2023.