The Los Angeles Rams have had two Hall of Fame running backs who played better for their franchise than they did for the Colts, so could Jonathan Taylor be the third of his kind to make the transition? According to Destin Adams, who covers the Indianapolis Colts for A to Z sports, the Rams are at least interested in exploring a trade for Jonathan Taylor.
Taylor and the Colts appear to be at an impasse about his contract situation. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him a $4.3 million base salary, Taylor wants to be paid like a top-tier running back before putting his body at risk again. Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay has refused and the Colts have allowed Taylor to seek a trade.
The idea that the Rams would be the ones to trade for Taylor and then pay him sounds so absurd that it’s hard to imagine that Les Snead won’t make it happen.
It was 24 years ago that the Rams traded for Marshall Faulk following a 4-12 season and then immediately won the Super Bowl with their new star running back winning the first of three straight Offensive Player of the Year awards. And it was 12 years before that that the Rams traded Eric Dickerson to the Colts because of a contract dispute, but Dickerson was never as good in Indianapolis as he was in L.A..
The cost to acquire Taylor could be day two picks instead of Snead’s usual desire to sell his first rounders. The Rams trading a first round pick could be risking a selection at least as high as the one that was just used by the Detroit Lions at sixth overall.
Then there’s the matter of paying Taylor what he wants, which is probably a deal larger than the $12.5 million per season going to Derrick Henry. Let’s call it a four-year, $52 million contract with $30 million guaranteed. L.A. has $10.1 million in cap space right now, but more wiggle room in 2024, and certainly a lot more in 2025.
Then there’s the question of whether or not Colts beat writer Destin Adams of a company called A to Z Sports has legitimate inside information of what the Los Angeles Rams are interested in doing. (ESPN’s Stephen Holder has noted that six teams have expressed interest but only named the Dolphins.) Given that Taylor has been given permission to seek a trade, it is not all that implausible that Taylor’s agent (oft cited this past month as one of the least savvy in the business because of how quickly this relationship with the team deteriorated) has been leaking information to the press about teams that he’s talked to.
If you wanted to drive up interest in other teams calling about Taylor, why not just say that the Rams are interested? It’s been true every other year, right? So why not now?
So I’m skeptical that the Rams “expressing interest” is anywhere close to “Rams want to trade for Jonathan Taylor” and the math doesn’t add up as to why L.A. would try to trade for a running back now, in this year, with their current roster make up and the amount of work that needs to be done in the draft and free agency next year to start plugging the holes on the roster. How could the Rams situation be any cozier for Taylor than the Colts situation?
It could be that Taylor’s agent is leaking information to a guy at A to Z Sports who he knew would take the information and run with it. But I don’t know that it is good information.