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Indianapolis Colts star Jonathan Taylor would likely only return on one condition, latest on trade market

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list before Week after after a trade didn’t materialize for the NFL star. Fortunately, one of the best running backs in the league today could return to the field relatively soon.

After undergoing ankle surgery following a disappointing 2022 season, Taylor returned to Indianapolis this summer hoping to sign a contract extension. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, he wanted to become one of the highest-paid NFL running backs.

  • Jonathan Taylor stats (career): 3,841 rushing yards, 33 rushing touchdowns, 5.1 ypc in 43 games

Related: Indianapolis Colts’ relationship with Jonathan Taylor is ‘worse than people realize’

Instead, the Colts informed Taylor that they would not engage in contract negotiations. Destined for the same fate as Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs – receiving the franchise tag to prevent him from hitting the open market – Taylor sat out training camp with ankle soreness.

Indianapolis floated Taylor around the league, fielding offers from multiple teams in the NFC and AFC. When no club was willing to meet the Colts’ high asking price, Taylor refused to play due to his ankle injury and he was placed on the PUP list which ruled him out for the first four games.

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According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the ankle injury that landed Taylor on the PUP list has improved significantly. He could reportedly “pass it today”, but will remain sidelined through the first four games due to NFL rules. Fortunately, the league’s leading rusher in 2021 is “planning to be ready to play” when first eligible in Week 5.

Notably, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the chances of Taylor returning to play for Indianapolis are described as “slim, but possible.” However, the Pro Bowl running back’s camp is making it clear that any issues with his ankle are behind him. So, the Colts either need to sign him to a multi-year contract extension or trade him. As of now, according to Rapoport, Indianapolis remains open to trading Taylor after Week 4.

First eligible to come off the PUP list following the Colts’ Oct. 1 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, Taylor would become immediately trade-eligible once he’s activated. It would leave Indianapolis with nearly a full month – the 2023 NFL trade deadline on Oct. 31 at 4 PM ET – to find a partner willing to offer what it wants.

Related: NFL insider thinks Jonathan Taylor never plays for Colts again

Despite rumors that the Colts asked the Miami Dolphins for wide receiver Jaylen Waddle in exchange for Taylor, Dolphins’ general manager Chris Grier told reporters that names were never exchanged during negotiations. If trade talks resume, the Dolphins and Green Bay Packers are expected to engage once again in trade talks with the Colts.