As the clock ticks toward Tuesday's non-binding deadline for trading Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, one of the big questions continues to be what do the Colts want?
In considering what they want now, the Colts need to consider what they can get later.
If they're offered 2024 draft pick(s) now, they could get 2024 draft pick(s) after the season. If Taylor plays and plays well, they could perhaps get more after the season than they could get now — especially if they could get more than one viable contender to the table during the offseason.
In sifting through trade possibilities, the Colts also need to consider the reality that they could let Taylor leave as a free agent after 2023, and get (roughly speaking) a third-round compensatory pick in 2024 (unless they engage in a free-agent signing spree).
If the Colts decide not to trade Taylor this year, they'll have to deal with Taylor and his apparent discontent with the team. And maybe they will. If they think he's exaggerating an injury in order to not play, they can take action. They can make it contentious. They can make it ugly.
The tension for G.M. Chris Ballard comes from balancing a desire to get fair value for Taylor with Ballard's belief that having a player on the team who doesn't want to be there can impact the rest of the locker room.
So what will the Colts do? It depends on what they think they can get now versus what they can get later.
The difference could come from the possibility that the team to whom the Colts trade Taylor could send a competent running back to Indy. That's the only trade package that will make the Colts better now, not later.