Running backs have been the topic of the NFL offseason as several star players sat out due to contract disputes with their teams.
Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard and Josh Jacobs all received the franchise tender but initially refused to sign it in hopes of landing a long-term deal. Barkley and Pollard eventually agreed to one-year contracts, while Jacobs remains away from the Las Vegas Raiders though the expectation is he’ll return before Week 1.
While those situations play out, another has been developing over the past few weeks as Indianapolis Colts star Jonathan Taylor has grown disgruntled over the team’s unwillingness to engage in contract extensions. Taylor is entering the fourth year of his rookie-scale contract and is extension-eligible, but it appears the Colts are continuing the trend of not rewarding their starting back.
Because of the road block, Indianapolis granted Taylor the opportunity to seek a trade. While Taylor is free to speak to the other 31 teams, completing a deal will be difficult as the Colts will want a package of picks to part with him.
Several teams would surely be interested in acquiring Taylor, though as of now only the Miami Dolphins have been reported as having exploratory talks with Indianapolis.
The Los Angeles Rams have always been a sleeper team anytime a star player is available via trade, and could look to swoop in and bolster their running back room. For the first time in years, the Rams have their first round pick in the next NFL Draft and could dangle that if they’re serious about trading for Taylor.
However, it would be in Los Angeles’ best interest not to chase after Taylor as the organization has been consistent about using the 2023 season as a remodeling opportunity. Trading high-value draft picks over the years resulted in a Super Bowl championship but now the team is paying the price for their aggressive team-building strategy.
Taylor would definitely be an upgrade over Cam Akers, but the latter had a strong finish last year and should be given the opportunity to handle the starting role. Sean McVay could feasibly utilize both of them because of their receiving ability, but acquiring someone like Taylor just to split snaps seems like a waste.
The other factor to consider is that Taylor is looking for long-term money from his next team, meaning the Rams would have to shell out or risk him holding out again. All in all, the cost doesn’t seem worth it for L.A. and they’re best sticking to their current path.