The Indianapolis Colts' running back saga has taken yet another turn.
Backup running back Zack Moss sustained a broken arm at training camp Monday, NFL Network's Mike Garofolo reports. Colts insider Mike Chappell reports that Moss slammed his helmet to the ground after sustaining the injury during a morning practice and required help from the field from trainers. He's expected to be sidelined for six weeks, per the reports.
Moss' injury arrives as Colts starting running back Jonathan Taylor remains embroiled in a contract dispute. Taylor reportedly requested a trade during a meeting with team owner Jim Irsay last week. Irsay told NFL Network via text: “We’re not trading Jonathan ... end of discussion. Not now and not in October!”
An All-Pro and the NFL's rushing champion in 2021, Taylor is due $4.3 million on the final year of his four-year rookie contract this season. He's seeking an extension that would pay him considerably more annually. The Colts have declined to offer him an extension.
Irsay's engaged in a social-media dispute criticizing a campaign by top NFL running backs lamenting the position's lack of relative financial stability after Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard all failed to secure long-term extensions during the offseason. Meanwhile, 27-year-old four-time Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook remains a free agent after being released by the Minnesota Vikings.
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
Taylor's agent responded to Irsay's tweet with one of his own declaring that Irsay is "not paying your top offensive player."
Bad faith is not paying your top offensive player https://t.co/ZYvrLhxygG
— malki kawa (@malkikawa) July 27, 2023
The conflict escalated over the weekend. Chappell reported that the Colts are considering placing Taylor on the non-football injury (NFI) list, a designation that would allow them to withhold his entire 2023 salary if he remained on the list through the season. Per the report, the designation would be related to a back injury Taylor sustained while working out in Arizona.
Taylor started training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, a designation that would not impact his pay. Taylor's recovering from offseason ankle surgery related to an injury sustained last season. If Taylor is deemed to have sustained an injury away from the team not related to football, the NFI designation could be in play. That would allow the Colts to withhold his salary for 2023 and toll the remaining $4.3 million of his contract to the 2024 season — the year that Taylor is seeking a pay increase.
Taylor denied Sunday night that he's experienced or reported any back pain.
1.) Never had a back pain.
2.) Never reported back pain.
Not sure who “sources” are, but find new ones 🤔
— Jonathan Taylor (@JayT23) July 31, 2023
As long as Taylor's sidelined, Moss was projected to be the Colts' primary ball-carrier. The Colts obtained Moss in a midseason trade last year that sent then-backup running back Nyheim Hines to the Buffalo Bills. Moss' injury projects to potentially sideline him through the start of the regular season. The Colts open their season Sept. 10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.