Jonathan Taylor has emerged as one of the top running backs in the NFL.
The 24-year-old met with Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay on a team bus parked near the practice field on Saturday. Following the meeting, the star running back formally requested a trade as he seeks a contract extension, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.
Injuries impacted Taylor’s 2022 season. He finished the year with a career-low 861 rushing yards over 11 games.
After the conversation with Taylor, Irsay told reporters that his position on a contract extension remain unchanged.
“We’re looking forward to a great season and hoping Jonathan is a big part of that,” Irsay said. “We’re looking forward to hopefully having Jonathan there.”
He added, “It was a good conversation, and I’m hopeful as we go forward.”
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer later reported that Irsay sent a text message saying he was not considering trading Taylor.
“We’re not trading Jonathan… end of discussion. Not now and not in October!” the message stated.
Irsay also recently insert himself into the conversation about the state of the running back market. Irsay pushed back against ball carriers who feel the current market does not match the value they bring to franchises around the league.
Taylor led the league in rushing in 2021 and has a career total of 3,841 yards in just three seasons. He has a career average of 5.1 yards per carry and has scored three receiving touchdowns, while reaching the end zone 33 times on the ground.
But Irsay also noted that he takes the entire salary cap into consideration when contract situations arise.
“At this point, that’s not something that we’re discussing right now. This isn’t a comment that has to do with Jonathan Taylor’s situation. It’s what my responsibilities are. I’m responsible for everyone on the team and to look at the cap money that you have and to look at contracts as you go forward,” the Colts owner said.
Taylor, a second-round pick in the 2020 draft, has one-year remaining on his rookie deal. He is slated to earn approximately $4.304 million in 2023, which ranks 18th among running back salaries for the upcoming season.
From Irsay’s point of view, Taylor would miss playing for the Colts.
“If I die tonight and Jonathan Taylor is out of the league, no one’s gonna miss us,” Irsay said Saturday. “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.”