Colts and Jonathan Taylor are making a giant mess
Taylor insists he's outplayed his rookie contract (he has). The Colts insist RB's have been devalued in a pass-first league (they have). It's time for a grown-up (Chris Ballard?) to save the day
WESTFIELD -- Late in Saturday’s sold-out practice, Colts media specialist and Jim Irsay’s right-hand man, Jeffrey Gorman, made his way out onto the field, searching for kids in the jam-packed stands who might like a gift from the owner. He was carrying $20,000 in Irsay-signed $100 bills in white envelopes, inspiring one wide-eyed young recipient to look at the bill and ask, “Is this real?”
Meanwhile, a couple hundred yards away, Irsay was in his luxury bus and was hosting Jonathan Taylor, his unhappy running back who’s staging a hold-in (he’s on the PUP list) in an effort to force the Colts to gift him with a long-term extension before the final year of his rookie contract expires.
Apparently, Irsay wasn’t in the mood to give Taylor one of those envelopes. Or a couple thousands of those envelopes. The kids got paid Saturday, but Taylor didn’t and, well, Taylor won’t. In fact, if Taylor is a Colt come the season opener against Jacksonville, it will come as a major surprise.
After practice, Irsay told the assembled media it was a friendly meeting, but 10 minutes after that presser, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Taylor demanded a trade out of Indianapolis. The report indicated the request came during that luxury bus meeting, but I’m told the request came several days earlier.
After the Irsay press briefing and the Rapoport report, several reporters reached back out to Irsay for a comment. He replied with an audio text in which he said, “We will not trade Jonathan Taylor. That is a certainty. Not now, or not in October.”
The bottom line is this: Unless an adult can swoop in and salvage this unholy mess – I’m thinking Chris Ballard is the team’s only remaining hope – Taylor has likely played his last game as an Indianapolis Colt.
Clearly, Irsay and one of Taylor’s agents, Malki Kawa, are incapable of getting anything done, seeing as how they’re too busy taking to Twitter to criticize one another. Everybody is dug in, and unless Ballard can save the day – if he’s allowed to save the day – the Colts will start the season with this cloud over the proceedings and be forced to either trade him or move him off the PUP list and start fining him on a daily basis, in which case things will get really ugly.