The Colts are heading to Philadelphia this week to take on the Eagles with a very disgruntled Jonathan Taylor. After Jim Irsay’s comments about running backs and their value, Taylor, rightfully so, took offense to his words and has held out since. Should Howie Roseman start drumming up some trade conversations before the teams collide this week?
Should the Eagles be interested in Jonathan Taylor?
The Eagles are doing all they can to set themselves up for another Super Bowl run. But even with all of the pieces that have been added throughout this offseason, the team may still need one more to put them over the top. Whether it’s on defense or offense, the only thing that matters right now is that there is a move to be made.
Ironically, one of the biggest offensive playmakers in the game has been granted permission to seek a trade. To add to the irony, the Eagles face him and his team this week in their final preseason matchup.
It’s been an ongoing feud of back-and-forth reporting from Taylor’s camp and the Colts that may have reached its boiling point. Which could be the perfect time for the Eagles to swoop in and save Jonathan Taylor.
Jonathan Taylor has been one of the more prolific running backs in the game over the last three seasons. He’s tallied 3,841 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. His biggest season came in 2021 when he exploded onto the scene and accumulated 1,811 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns, and a league-leading average of 5.5 yards per carry.
It’s safe to say that this would be an addition that puts the Eagles over the top and possibly in a position to hoist the Lombardi trophy in February, but are they really in a position to make the move?
The devaluation of the running back position
The running back position is one that’s being hit hard in terms of value. The Philadelphia Eagles are at the forefront of the recent wave that sees teams opting for committee efforts as opposed to throwing the kitchen sink at one player and watching money evaporate if he gets injured. The Eagles have not paid a running back any ‘substantial’ money since the DeMarco Murray saga. Since then, it’s been the itty bitty running committee in Philly.
The Eagles opted to let former second-round pick, Miles Sanders, venture into the world of free agency this offseason. He signed a four-year, $25.4 million deal with Carolina at an average of around $6.2M per year. In response, the Birds acquired both Rashaad Penny and D’Andre Swift to join Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott. The entire quartet costs them $6.3M. An entire backfield costs less than one running back in Carolina.
So would the Eagles really be interested in Jonathan Taylor?
The answer isn’t as black and white as you might think…
Howie Roseman and the art of prove-it contracts
‘Prove-it’ deals are becoming the norm in the NFL. Players want to secure their long-term futures and teams have reasons to be hesitant. A prove-it deal is a short-term contract that allows the player in question to increase their value by betting on themself. If they have a breakout year, a long-term deal either with that team or another is almost guaranteed.
Howie Roseman has become synonymous with these types of deals and the running back position is a hotbed for them in Philly. Jay Ajayi and LeGarette Blount are the most infamous in the City of Brotherly Love, but even Rashaad Penny and D’Andre Swift can be put in the same boat.
Jonathan Taylor is in his final contracted year and yields a cap hit of only $4M. Sure, it would be assumed that the Eagles would trade for JT and sign him to a big deal, but that’s not always the case. Look no further than Chauncey Gardner-Johnson’s situation last year, for instance.
With the price of running back trades plummeting (Just look at what it took to acquire Christian McCaffrey), there’s no reason why Howie Roseman wouldn’t be willing to pull the trigger and shift a running back or two in a deal laden with draft picks.
If Roseman truly believes the Eagles are Super Bowl bound once again this season, then a trade for Jonathan Taylor would be the type of game-changing move to really boost their chances and become the NFC’s most dominant outfit. The only question is if the trade is only for one year of JT’s services, then what would the Birds be willing to part ways with?
We’ll have a trade package piece coming up later today, so stay tuned. But for now, we can all agree that the idea of Jonathan Taylor suiting up in Kelly Green isn’t as outlandish as some might think.
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