It’s never a good idea to “alienate” your best players in the NFL. That doesn’t prevent some coaches or executives from doing it anyway. It also doesn’t mean there’s not a “worst” time to alienate a star player, either. Case in point, may I present to you all Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.
Irsay has already made some weird comments this offseason. Specifically, during the 2023 NFL Draft, he Tweeted out a question to fans asking if the team should essentially double-up on the quarterback position and draft Will Levis after already having drafted Anthony Richardson in the first round (4th overall). Of course, the Colts never got the chance to do that as the Titans took Levis off the board before the Colts were on the clock.
Actually, was Irsay seriously going to do that? The Colts traded down from their pick after the Titans jumped up for Levis…
Never mind, we’re not here to discuss that. We’re here to discuss Irsay alienating his best player at the worst possible time. Irsay should probably delete his Twitter account at this point but he’s at least giving us all something to talk about as he sabotages his own operation. Observe:
Malki Kawa is the agent of Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor and this is obviously not a good look for the Colts or Irsay. Irsay made his bed by coming out right as Jonathan Taylor is entering a contract year and basically taking a hard stance against what people are saying right now about the running back position. And what people are saying is essentially that there is collusion among NFL teams to not pay running backs, and there’s plenty of evidence for that.
Star players like Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard, and Austin Ekeler have been asking for long-term deals to no avail. Dalvin Cook was cut by the Vikings and as of the time of this writing still hasn’t been signed. The Cowboys cut Zeke Elliott and no one has signed him yet. Running backs are playing for pennies on the dollar compared to their peers in the “offensive weapon” department and they understandably are worried about their future.
But a team like the Colts can ill afford to lose a stud like Jonathan Taylor at this particular moment in time. Why is this such bad timing? The Colts can’t have Taylor upset or holding out during the formative years of Anthony Richardson’s career. This Colts team and new head coach Shane Steichen are going to have to rely heavily on Taylor and the running game in order to have early success. Removing Taylor from the equation or upsetting him and causing a distraction is not going to work out well for anyone.
Is there actually collusion happening among NFL teams regarding the running back position? It’s hard to say, but it’s also hard not to justify given the shelf life at the position. But for a team like the Colts, with a rookie QB under contract, paying a running back who can help that young QB grow is actually a move that would make a lot of sense.
Yet it seems like their owner doesn’t have his best player’s back, which is a major problem.