Packers Continue to Be Linked to Disgruntled All-Pro Rushing Champ

Packers brain trust Matt LaFleur (left) and GM Brian Gutekunst

Getty Packers brain trust Matt LaFleur (left) and GM Brian Gutekunst

After the story about the Packers’ interest in Colts running back Jonathan Taylor slipped out late in training camp, one key detail emerged that seemed to shut down the rumor altogether: The Colts wanted receiver Christian Watson as part of the return package for Taylor, and the Packers were never going to do that.

Especially not when the Packers could simply pursue Taylor in free agency next offseason, when the Packers are likely to be looking to replace running back A.J. Dillon. It was already reported that the Packers would be willing to pay Taylor top RB dollar.

Certainly, Taylor, who led the NFL in rushing yards (1,811) and touchdowns (18) last season, continues to be linked to Green Bay. Over at Bleacher Report this week, in fact, Taylor is highlighted as the primary potential signee of the Packers in the 2024 offseason.

“A few people have made this connection already seeing as A.J. Dillion is an impending free agent and Aaron Jones’ contract expires in 2024,” B/R wrote. “Also, Taylor clearly wants out of Indianapolis after asking for a trade toward the end of training camp, and the Packers are willing to pay a running back.”

Packers Could Re-Start Jonathan Taylor Trade Talk

But, hey, why think small? If the stalemate between Taylor and the Colts continue, couldn’t the Packers circle back to see if Indianapolis would give him up now and get something in return—even if it is not the premium package the Colts wanted?

Over the summer, there was some question about what would happen next with Taylor, who has been holding out on Indianapolis in a contract dispute but who, as of late August, still was expected to land a new long-term deal that would remove him from the Packers’ grasp.

Now though? Taylor has sat out for three weeks and will sit out a fourth because he is on injured reserve. He will be eligible to return to action in Week 5—but that is likely only happening if the Colts can trade him. And with the Colts’ bargaining position much, much weaker now, perhaps the Packers could re-insert themselves into Taylor trade talks. Without Watson, of course.

There is no doubt the Packer could use such a deal. The early injury to Aaron Jones has left the running game in shambles, and if the Packers want to make a serious move in the playoffs this season, rebuilding their RB combo with Dillon struggling would help.

ESPN: Taylor Still Wants a Trade

In an ESPN report on Wednesday, league insider Dan Graziano said that the time away from the league has probably softened the trade market on Taylor—teams don’t like adding a key piece who has been sitting out, like Taylor, at midseason, and the Colts’ running game has been solid with Zack Moss.

But a softer market makes it easier for a team to pluck Taylor for a relatively low cost.

“From what I understand, he still doesn’t want to play for the Colts, and they still don’t want to give him a long-term contract,” Graziano wrote.

“The time since the preseason has mellowed out the market a bit and maybe created more fertile ground for a deal. It wouldn’t surprise me if his first game of the season was in a different uniform. The Browns might end up being more motivated to make a deal than they want us to believe after the Nick Chubb injury.”

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