Indianapolis Colts: 5 RB options to replace Jonathan Taylor

The Indianapolis Colts and Jonathan Taylor are at a stalemate, which leaves a huge question about the backfield in 2023. Here are the five running back options that the team will likely consider ahead of Week 1 of the regular season.
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The Indianapolis Colts have given Pro Bowl running back, and 2021 NFL rushing champ Jonathan Taylor permission to seek a trade.

While a deal is not guaranteed, Indianapolis must prepare contingency plans if Taylor is moved. How those plans will play out, well, we'll just have to wait and see. For now, let's get into some options that could help keep the offense on track in 2023.

The Colts have a dearth of proven options behind Taylor, and perhaps need to add a starting-caliber ball carrier. They could find a suitable trade for a veteran on another roster who is currently placed in a crowded backfield. Or they could look to the free-agent market to bring in a player for a cheap one-year contract.

Neither of those courses of action do much to quell the heartache of losing Taylor in his prime at 24 years old, nor should they. The franchise selected Taylor with the No. 41 pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, and they haven't gotten even a half a decade of his talent. Sure, there isn't a ton of guarantee or longevity when it comes to running backs in the modern game, but it's hard to forget about the considerable value attached to a second-round investment in the NFL. While the Colts do have serious uncertainty at the moment for their backfield, they also added RB depth in the draft and have players committed to proving themselves in an elevated role.

Signing a proven veteran would provide the clearest impact. Having a player with a bright track record who could come into the offense and become the bellcow right away would offer some extra time to figure out more of a long-term solution. Seeing as rookie Anthony Richardson will likely need time to develop as the franchise QB, the Colts can move at their own pace and reevaluate which style of runners fit head coach Shane Steichen's offensive scheme best.

Of course, the capper would be persuading Taylor to remain in Indianapolis. His unique explosiveness and durability cannot be easily replaced, and the Colts are essentially waiting on Richardson to become their superstar. If Taylor somehow stays, then the team will have its cornerstone for this season. However, it might be too late in the game for both sides to mend fences.

This situation remains very fluid ahead of final roster cutdowns. Regardless, general manager Chris Ballard must exhaust all options to field a competitive backfield entering 2023. Bearing all of this in mind, here are five potential replacements if Taylor is truly moved on from Indy.