Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard isn’t happy with the Jonathan Taylor situation.
To put it simply, “it sucks," he said Wednesday.
“This situation sucks,” Ballard said, via The Athletic’s Zak Keefer. “It sucks for the Colts, it sucks for Jonathan Taylor, and it sucks for the fans. It’s where we’re at, and we’re gonna work through it … relationships are repairable.”
The Colts failed to find a suitable trading partner for their star running back ahead of their Tuesday deadline. The team kept Taylor on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, which means he will miss at least the team’s first four games of the season.
Taylor hasn’t practiced with the team since he reported to training camp last month, when he requested a trade. The request, which owner Jim Irsay strongly denied, came after the organization failed to reach an agreement to extend his rookie contract. He is set to make $4.3 million this season.
Irsay finally gave Taylor permission to seek a trade earlier this month, but the team set a deadline for him to do so. That deadline lined up with the league’s deadline for teams to cut their rosters to 53 players on Tuesday. There were reportedly six teams who inquired about Taylor, and two made offers. The Colts were reportedly looking for either a first-round pick or a package that equaled that value.
Taylor rushed for 3,841 yards and recorded 35 total touchdowns in his three seasons with the Colts. He started camp on the PUP list after undergoing offseason ankle surgery.
With the deadline having come and gone, things have gotten very tense in Indianapolis.
“I’ve communicated consistently with Jonathan and his agent. I communicate with my owner. I think sometimes everybody gets a little emotional,” Ballard said, via WTHR’s Dominic Miranda. “I don’t think it does any of us any good right now to blame and point fingers.”
With the Colts without Taylor for at least four weeks, it’s unclear who will replace him at running back to start the season. Backup Zack Moss is out due to a fractured arm, which leaves just Evan Hull and Deon Jackson on the roster. Jackson ran for 236 yards last season and is listed as third on the depth chart.
The Colts could still find a trading partner for Taylor before the league’s trade deadline on Oct. 31. They could also use the franchise tag to keep Taylor for this season, which is something his camp has asked the Colts about. It’s unclear if they will go that route.
“It’s a tool, yes,” Ballard said of the franchise tag, via WTHR’s Dominic Miranda. “You don’t want to make false promises that you can’t keep. I know it looks not the best right now, but I know I’ve never lied to him.”
Either way, Ballard isn’t giving up on Taylor. He said he doesn’t want people to get the impression that he doesn’t want Taylor on the team because Taylor is a great player.
So why not pay him?
“We won four games last year,” Ballard replied when asked that very question, via The Athletic’s Zak Keefer. “We won four games.”
That's one way to look at the situation.