NFL Rumors: What Bills trade for Jonathan Taylor would look like

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills are among the teams being pitched as a potential next home for Jonathan Taylor. Here’s what it would take to pair the star RB with Josh Allen. 

Jonathan Taylor has officially requested a trade from the Indianapolis Colts after a breakdown in contract negotiations. With his rookie deal set to expire at season’s end, Taylor faces the grim reality of a dying free agent market at his position.

The Colts may or may not honor Taylor’s request, but the front office should want to avoid losing Taylor for nothing. Taylor’s relationship with the franchise is going south fast and there appears to be no salvaging it, so the focus now turns to which teams could vie for the 24-year-old’s services.

The Buffalo Bills are one of the best offensive teams in the NFL but there’s a lack of proven talent in the backfield. Buffalo has been loosely connected to free agents like Dalvin Cook, but it’s hard to imagine a better immediate backfield upgrade than Taylor. He’s still at the front end of his football prime and the Bills could get a discount on his upcoming extension with how the RB market is shaping up.

NFL Rumors: Trade package to deliver Jonathan Taylor from Colts to Bills

The value of running backs in the NFL has never been lower. Even the best players at the position can’t secure long-term money. Josh Jacobs and Saquon Barkley served as the foundations of their respective offenses last season. Their reward? Barkley signed for marginally more than the franchise tag and Jacobs is holding out of training camp.

While the odds of any team ponying up a first-round pick for Taylor are slim, the Bills could have to stack multiple picks together to compete with offers from other contenders. Buffalo won’t have prime draft position in the second round and Taylor, the youngest star back on the market, will have a long list of interested suitors.

The big hangup with any potential Taylor trade is the extension element. He wants to get paid and a move to Buffalo won’t change that. If the Bills balk at the idea of offering Taylor long-term money, they’re giving up picks for a disgruntled player. That won’t end well.

The Bills are in a different position than the Colts, of course. Indy is at the front end of a rebuild and wants to maintain financial flexibility. The Bills should be willing to spend top dollar to put a ring on Josh Allen’s finger. Buffalo’s title window is wide open and Taylor absolutely helps toward that goal.

Now more than ever, teams are uncomfortable projecting long-term value with running backs. That said, Taylor is 24 years old. He ran for 1,811 yards in his last healthy season and he has a career average of 5.1 yards per carry. Buffalo would suddenly have one of the most dynamic run games in the NFL, with Josh Allen also frequently legging out big gains on the ground. Taylor dominating early downs while Allen tees it up to Stefon Diggs and Dawson Knox on later downs is a recipe for success.

The Bills have another young RB worthy of development in James Cook, but Taylor is the superior talent — maybe the best in the entire NFL. With how RBs are treated nowadays, perhaps a timeshare would benefit all parties involved. Taylor and Cook are young and could help each other’s longevity by splitting touches.

If this is all it costs to get Taylor in a Bills uniform, the front office would be wise to make a push.

Next. 3 trade destinations for Jonathan Taylor, 1 wild card. dark