Jonathan Taylor officially wants out of the Indianapolis Colts.
The Pro Bowl running back has formally requested a trade, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Saturday, after Taylor personally met with Colts owner Jim Irsay. Per ESPN's Stephen Holder, Taylor actually requested the trade several days ago and was not told "no."
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 30, 2023
Not long after, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported Irsay had texted him a rejection of Taylor's request:
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 30, 2023
Taylor was eligible for an extension this summer after his third season in the NFL, but the Colts, like nearly every other team in the league has done with star running backs, declined to lock him down long term. Instead, the former NFL rushing champ reported to training camp and was expected to play his fourth season with the Colts after missing a chunk of last season with an ankle injury.
Through three seasons, Taylor has posted 3,841 rushing yards, 802 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns from scrimmage, an average of 1,280 yards on the ground, 267 through the air and 12 touchdowns per season.
The situation is part of a larger discourse on the lack of long-term security for the NFL's top running backs, a topic that Irsay himself weighed in on and triggered a contentious back-and-forth with Taylor's agent.
Jonathan Taylor's agent wasn't happy with Jim Irsay
Irsay first stirred the pot with a social media post in response to several current and former NFL running backs complaining about their situation and calling for a change in how the position is compensated.
The Colts owner, never afraid to speak his mind, called such requests "inappropriate" and said some agents were acting in bad faith.
NFL Running Back situation- We have negotiated a CBA,that took years of effort and hard work and compromise in good faith by both sides..to say now that a specific Player category wants another negotiation after the fact,is inappropriate. Some Agents are selling ‘bad faith’..
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) July 26, 2023
Irsay later insisted the post wasn't directed at Taylor, but Taylor's agent, Malki Kawa, seemed to take it as such. He first posted that Irsay himself was exhibiting bad faith by declining to extend one of his team's biggest stars, then said he doubted the relationship between team and player, or owner and player, could be repaired.
Bad faith is not paying your top offensive player https://t.co/ZYvrLhxygG
— malki kawa (@malkikawa) July 27, 2023
All of that led to a meeting between Irsay and Taylor. We can probably assume it didn't go well, but it also led to Irsay presenting a bizarre series of statements to reporters shortly before Taylor's trade demand was reported.
Irsay declined to say what was said, confirmed he will not be discussing contract extensions in the near future, insisted the Colts treat their players as well as any NFL franchise and then, well, got existential.
#Colts owner Jim Irsay: “If I die tonight and Jonathan Taylor is out of the league, no one’s gonna miss us. The league goes on. We know that. The National Football (League) rolls on. It doesn’t matter who comes and who goes, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.”
— James Boyd (@RomeovilleKid) July 30, 2023
Judging from Irsay's quick denial of Taylor's request, it's clear at least one person will miss him if he's not a Colt.