The unfolding situation involving Jonathan Taylor took a dramatic turn this week when the Colts failed to trade him before the roster cutdown deadline on Tuesday.
Due to the lingering ankle issue that had already sidelined him during training camp, Taylor was placed on the physically unable to perform list for the start of the 2023 season, which means he will be sidelined for at least the first four games.
However, this issue extends beyond just the ankle injury; it has strained the relationship between the star player and the club, mainly regarding a potential contract extension.
Chris Ballard, the Colts’ general manager and the face of the organization, openly addressed the matter on Wednesday, stating simply, “It’s a tough situation.”
Ballard candidly admitted, “It’s a difficult situation for the Colts, Jonathan Taylor, and our fans. We acknowledge that. But this is where we find ourselves, and we are committed to resolving it. Relationships can be mended; they can be. When emotions run high, and positions are taken, it’s crucial to work through them.”
Ballard emphasized the significance of the ankle injury as the reason for placing Taylor on the PUP list at the start of the season, rather than the contract dispute. He clarified that Taylor would undergo rehabilitation at the team’s facilities.
However, this doesn’t signify an immediate resolution of their strained relationship. If anything, it appears both parties understand that if they wish to collaborate on the field again, they must find common ground.
Ballard acknowledged that in hindsight, there may have been different approaches to prevent anyone. He emphasized that pointing fingers wouldn’t be productive and wouldn’t help in finding a solution.
The potential resolution still hovers between a trade and rebuilding the relationship. Multiple teams, including the Green Bay Packers, have expressed interest in Taylor, as reported by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Unique circumstances could lead to a team offering a more attractive deal, or conversely, the continued strain between Taylor and the Colts might lower their asking price.
For now, the Colts seem to grasp the gravity of the situation they’ve played a part in creating. They are determined not to let their reputation for retaining valuable players, which Ballard emphasized Taylor to be, be tarnished because of this situation.
When asked about the reluctance to offer Taylor a contract, Ballard pointed to the team’s underwhelming performance in the previous season. “I think every situation is a little bit different,” he explained. “Coming off last season, it’s tough. You only won four games, there’s a brand-new coaching staff and various other circumstances. So, I think every situation is different.”
At this juncture, one of two outcomes is likely: either the Colts find a suitable trade partner with acceptable compensation, an aspect Ballard declined to discuss, or they focus on repairing the relationship with Taylor during his rehabilitation. Perhaps they could even reach an agreement on an extension during this time, finding a way to collaborate when Taylor is ready to return to the field.
“I’m disappointed because we haven’t encountered such a situation before. That’s why it’s disheartening,” Ballard expressed. “Historically, we’ve excelled in communication, ensuring our players were well-informed about their status and our intentions.
“Sometimes, disagreements happen, usually centered around money, and they can be challenging. But understand that doesn’t diminish my regard for you. I deeply care for Jonathan Taylor. I respect him immensely. Even when times are tough, I won’t abandon the relationship. I think too highly of him and what he has contributed to our organization, and how hard he’s played for us.”
Until a resolution is reached, this will remain a significant storyline to monitor. Time has a way of healing wounds, and the Colts have the advantage of having time on their side. Ballard is determined not to drag Taylor’s name through the mud at this point, as there’s still an opportunity to make things right, both in their relationship and possibly in terms of compensation.
“I want everyone to understand that Jonathan is held in high regard, not only as an exceptional football player but also as an outstanding individual. We all recognize this,” Ballard declared at the beginning of his Wednesday news conference.
“Situations like this can happen. I tell every rookie who joins us that there will be moments when we disagree, usually involving money, and it will be tough. But know this: it won’t change my care and respect for you. I care deeply for Jonathan Taylor. I have immense respect for him. My commitment to our relationship, even in challenging times, remains unwavering. I value the young man too much and appreciate what he has done for our organization and how he has played for us.”