Packers Make Final Call on Pursuit of Colts’ Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor, Colts

Getty Running back Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts.

The Green Bay Packers have fielded one of the least effective rushing attacks in the NFL through four weeks, and it doesn’t appear that Jonathan Taylor will be able to help them.

The Indianapolis Colts will open up the 21-day practice window for Taylor on Wednesday, October 4, per a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. The 2021 league rushing champion spent the first four weeks of the season on the injured reserve list (IR) with an ankle issue.

Taylor’s imminent return to action should re-ignite trade conversations that began in late August following weeks of dispute between the running back and the Colts front office over a new, long-term contract extension. Indy wanted a first-round draft pick in exchange for the 24-year-old running back, though offers from interested teams like the Packers and Miami Dolphins never rose to that level. Rapoport and Pelissero reported that no talks are currently ongoing.

“The Colts are also open to a trade if they get the right offer. But the two teams known to have made trade offers before the season haven’t engaged recently,” Rapoport and Pelissero wrote. “The Packers are no longer in the mix, and the Dolphins haven’t spoken to the Colts about trading for Taylor since before the season began, sources say.”

Aaron Jones’ Injury Issues Have Hurt Packers’ Run Game in 2023

Aaron Jones, Packers

GettyLinebacker Alex Anzalone of the Detroit Lions pushes running back Aaron Jones of the Green Bay Packers out of bounds during an NFL game in September 2023. 

There is little question that the Packers could use Taylor’s help after an examination of their run game through the first four weeks.

Green Bay has amassed a total of 298 rushing yards, an average of 74.5 yards per contest, which ranks 29th out of 32 teams. The Packers’ 3.3 yards-per-carry average is also 29th in the league, per Taylor alone tallied 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground during the 2021 campaign.

A big part of Green Bay’s rushing issues has been the health of running back Aaron Jones, who missed two weeks with a hamstring injury. In the two games he’s played, Jones has carried the ball just 14 times for 59 yards and one score, per Pro Football Reference.

Packers RB A.J. Dillon Struggling Through Worst Season of NFL Career

GettyRunning back A.J. Dillon of the Green Bay Packers.

Running back A.J. Dillon has also struggled in 2023, though not with injury. Dillon has tallied just 118 yards on 44 carries for a career-worst average of 2.7 yards per attempt.

Some bolder preseason predictions had Dillon usurping Jones as the Packers’ primary rusher during his fourth NFL season. While the carry splits in the two games Dillon and Jones have played together indicate Green Bay’s offense is trending in that direction (18 carries for Dillon compared to 14 carries for Jones), Dillon has failed to deliver on the increased usage.

The timing of his decline couldn’t be worse for the 25-year-old RB, as he is bound for free agency in March 2024. Both Dillon and Taylor are former second-round picks, though Taylor is projected to sign one of the more lucrative running back contracts in the NFL wherever he winds up, while Dillon’s stock is declining with each passing game.

The Packers were willing to pay Taylor like one of the NFL’s top backs if they could have traded for him and have an extra second-round pick from the New York Jets in 2024 with which to work. However, the report that Green Bay is out on Taylor indicates that a second-rounder won’t get the job done and that the Packers are unwilling to part with a first-round pick.

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