NFL training camp always brings out crazy stories. In the past few days, we’ve already gotten a bunch of weird ones.
For starters, Sean Payton completely dissed former Broncos head coach turned Jet’s OC Nathaniel Hackett, calling last season in Denver “one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL.” That led to Aaron Rodgers telling Payton to “keep my coach’s name out of his mouth.”
Then in Chicago, Bear’s first round pick Darnell Wright — an offensive lineman out of Tennessee — admitted he lost 16 pounds of fat in the offseason as he mistakenly stuck to the conditioning schedule for wide receivers.
While both pretty nut stories, neither compare to what’s going on in Indianapolis.
For everyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, stick with me. I’m gonna lay it all out.
Before we start, let’s go back two years. In 2021, Colt’s running back Jonathan Taylor led the NFL in rushing with over 1,800 yards. The next season, Taylor only played 11 of 17 games due to an ankle injury. Due to Taylor’s absence and the rest of the Colt’s not being good at football, Indy ended the season 4-12-1.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Colt’s owner Jim Irsay appears on The Pat McAfee Show and says that JT’s ankle injury is all “healed up.” Sounds like he is gonna be good to go for this season, right? Well, it’s complicated.
It’s always all about the money
Throughout the offseason, Taylor has numerously and publicly stated he wants a contract extension as the running back market is currently in shambles. Just ask, Saquon Barkley. Well, Irsay clearly enjoys not having to pay big bucks for running backs as he declined to even speak about an extension with his best player.
This all culminated in a Saturday night conversation between Taylor and Irsay.
After the two’s discussion, reports came out that JT wants out of Indy and requested a trade. Irsay quickly shut down the request saying he wouldn’t trade Taylor “not now. Not in October.”
A new mysterious injury
Following those reports, on Sunday the Colt’s announced that Taylor did not pass his pre-training physical and would start training camp on the PUP list due to a back injury. Even more so, there were reports that JT could miss the entire season and that the Colt’s would then be off the hook for paying his salary.
Now, is this just a weird coincidence or are the Colt’s lying about this injury to get out of paying Taylor? According to Taylor himself, it’s the latter.
I know the situation seems bad, but trust me it actually somehow gets worse. While we are all aware of how bad this looks for the relationship between the Colt’s and their only good skill player who isn’t a rookie, Taylor’s own agent actually tweeted that he doubts the ongoing situation could be fixed.
So what’s the deal?
Well, given the way things are looking, I don’t know if we will ever see JT play another game for the Colt’s. Whether he sits out due to “injury,” holds out on his own, or gets his wish of being traded, the odds seem to sway in favor of him not returning to Lucas Oil.
However, in order to get a trade done, JT needs cooperation from Irsay as well as a team willing to give up draft picks to then immediately sign Taylor to the long-term deal he wants. Neither of those are easy feats.
Honestly, no one can predict what’s going to happen. Not Taylor, not Irsay, not even Adam Schefter. For now, it’s purely a waiting game to see who budges first.