Miami Dolphins star Jaylen Waddle wasn’t the only wide receiver targeted by the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for Jonathan Taylor.
When Indianapolis and Green Bay had initial discussions about a potential Taylor trade, the Colts asked the Packers for second-year receiver Christian Watson, league sources told ESPN.
The Packers, however, never considered dealing Watson for Taylor or anyone else and quickly shut down any such talk, according to sources.
A source told ESPN that Taylor, who is on the physically unable to perform list because of an ankle injury, is “going to pass his physical and could pass it today.” Taylor is planning to be ready to play as early as Week 5, when he is eligible to come off the PUP list, according to the source.
The Colts and Packers did discuss a deal for Taylor, but a trade did not get close. Green Bay is believed to have offered only draft-pick compensation, not enough to make Indianapolis consider dealing its All-Pro running back.
“We try to be in every conversation,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said last month. “Anytime we have good players available to us, we’d like to make the Green Bay Packers better and we’ll look at those opportunities. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”
Multiple media outlets reported last month that Indianapolis requested Waddle in Taylor-related trade talks. Dolphins general manager Chris Grier confirmed he had “exploratory talks” with Colts GM Chris Ballard but added there was “no exchange of offers” between the teams and said “nothing was really close.”
Indianapolis’ interest in Waddle and Watson highlights the type of value the Colts were seeking in return for Taylor and how much both the Dolphins and Packers covet their standout wide receivers.
Waddle and Watson are considered two of the NFL’s top young wide receivers. Waddle, 24, finished seventh in the league last season with 1,356 receiving yards.
Watson, 24, was the Packers’ 2022 second-round draft pick — the 34th overall selection — and caught 41 passes for 611 yards while scoring nine total touchdowns. From Week 10 to Week 13, Watson scored eight total touchdowns. He tied Jahan Dotson and Kenneth Walker III for the most total touchdowns among NFL rookies last season.
Watson will not play in the Packers’ season opener Sunday against the Chicago Bears because of a hamstring injury.
The Colts kept Taylor on the PUP list after not finding a trade partner, making him ineligible to play in at least the first four games of the season. Taylor will miss games against the Jacksonville Jaguars, at the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens and against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Colts’ next-best opportunity to deal Taylor could be before the Oct. 31 trade deadline. If there’s no deal by then, the Colts could use the franchise tag on Taylor and try to trade him again next offseason.