INDIANAPOLIS – That training camp chatter about Marlon Mack being a possible surprise cut now has the veteran running back on the trade block.
On Tuesday afternoon, NFL Network reported that the Colts and Mack have mutually agreed to seek a trade.
This is not a surprise.
Mack has played 13 snaps this season. He didn’t play in Week 1, despite dressing, and then was a healthy scratch, and didn’t dress, in Sunday’s loss to the Titans.
Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines deserve all the touches at running back right now, and Jordan Wilkins offers a solid insurance policy, while also filling a role on special teams, something Mack does not do.
Offensive coordinator Marcus Brady described the Colts ‘problem’ in regards to running back depth like this on Tuesday:
“When you’ve got that much talent in the backfield, it can be hard to share the wealth,” the first-year OC said.
Now, what the Colts could get in return for Mack shouldn’t carry a ton of optimism.
Simply, running back are being devalued in today’s NFL.
Yes, running back injuries have already hit teams like the Ravens and 49ers pretty hard early in the season.
Are those teams, who love running the football, a bit desperate to address a position that isn’t viewed in the same light by the league nowadays?
Recent NFL trades involving running backs haven’t offered much of a return package.
In the last 5 years, we’ve seen 11 trades in the NFL with running backs part of the deal. Only once has a team sent a Day 1 or Day 2 draft selection back for that RB (Duke Johnson for a 3rd round pick to the Texans, who later fired GM/Head Coach Bill O’Brien).
Honestly, if the Colts could get anything better than a 7th round pick for Mack, it would be a definite win.
The Colts know running backs can be found off a practice squad, or off the street. In 2019, it was Jonathan Williams filling in for the injured Mack and running for more than 100 yards in consecutive games.
Even though Mack is only 25 years old and on a reasonable 1-year, $2 million deal (the Colts would save $1 million by trading him), he is coming off a torn Achilles, and that injury is going to have teams hesitant to execute such a trade.
In 2021, Mack’s production in limited action has been underwhelming. He has 5 carries for 16 yards in the regular season (3.2 YPC), following 7 carries for 22 yards in the preseason (3.1 YPC).
Instead of a draft pick in return of a Mack trade, could the Colts find a depth piece at a position of need? What about offensive tackle? Or defensive back?
No matter what happens, it is a shame that this is how Mack’s career has unfolded with the Colts.
That torn Achilles for Mack in last year’s season opener totally ended the nice second contract, of a multi-year length, that he was likely heading for in the offseason.
Right now, Mack is a luxury insurance for the Colts.
Will Chris Ballard be able to turn that into a Day 3 pick or depth piece?
The 2021 NFL trade deadline is November 2nd at 4:00 PM.