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Report: The Packers were willing to make Jonathan Taylor among highest-paid RBs

It seems like Green Bay was deeper in trade conversations than what was initially believed.

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

On Wednesday, a report from ESPN claimed that the Green Bay Packers attempted to trade for Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor. When asked about it in his previously scheduled press conference following cutdowns, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst stated that he couldn’t talk about players who weren’t on his roster and seemed to blame the leak on the Colts attempting to drive up the price on the running back.

Later that day, Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported that it was a scout who contacted the Colts about a potential trade for Taylor, not even Gutekunst himself. That made it seem like these conversations never really evolved into something serious between Green Bay and Indianapolis, until Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported on Thursday that both the Packers and Miami Dolphins were willing to make Jonathan Taylor one of the highest-paid running backs in the league, according to an anonymous source.

For reference, New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara is on a $75 million contract worth $15 million per year, while San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey is on a $64 million contract worth $16.02 million per year. Handing out that type of money is serious business, so maybe these discussions between the Packers and Colts were a little more significant than Gutekunst led us to believe.

Green Bay currently has a running back by committee, as Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon have split carries out of the backfield over the last two seasons. There’s uncertainty about the duo’s future with the Packers, though, as Jones carries a $17.7 million cap hit in 2024 — as a 30-year-old — while Dillon is in a contract year in 2023.

It’s possible that Gutekunst is looking to get aggressive at the running back position to get ahead of the scenario in which both Jones and Dillon are on different teams next season. To be fair, a 24-year-old Wisconsin legend with a First-Team All-Pro season under his belt isn’t the worst place to start looking.

Taylor’s contract dispute with the Colts continues, though, general manager Chris Ballard claimed that “Relationships are repairable,” and that the two sides just “got to work through it” in a press conference on Wednesday. At the moment, Taylor is on the physically unable to perform list for an ankle injury, which means that he won’t be suiting up — trade or not — until at least Week 5 of the regular season.