The Indianapolis Colts plan on having a new contract for quarterback Andrew Luck in place by July 4, owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday.
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Irsay Sets Independence Day Goal for Luck Deal
Tuesday, March 22
Avis Roper of the Colts' public relations department passed along the information. Luck is scheduled to make $16.1 million in 2016, which is the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. The Stanford product struggled with injuries throughout last season, throwing for 1,881 yards and 15 touchdowns against 12 interceptions in seven games.
Despite a marked downturn in play—Luck had a 40-16 rate of touchdowns to interceptions in 2014—odds are he will soon become the NFL's highest-paid player. He's a 26-year-old three-time Pro Bowler who plays the most important position on the field. And given the fact we're living in some alternative universe where Sam Bradford can land a contract averaging $18 million per year with the Philadelphia Eagles, the numbers on Luck will be eye-opening.
“Andrew is going to be here,” Irsay told WISH-TV in February (via Kevin Bowen of the Colts' official website). “I don’t know when that might be, but it’s just a matter of time before we talk about this new contract and agreed to. It’s going to be a big number. It’s going to be a shocking number, nine figures and probably a 20 (million) starting point per year, but again we will find the right number to get to.”
Fellow Class of 2012 quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson and Brock Osweiler have already signed big multiyear deals. Tannehill inked a $96 million extension that will keep him with the Miami Dolphins through 2020, Wilson's $87.6 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks runs through 2019, and Osweiler landed a $72 million deal over four years from the Houston Texans this offseason.
If Irsay's comments prove correct, Luck should get a contract approaching Wilson's average annual value (a little under $22 million) and a Tannehill-esque length (five or six years). Joe Flacco currently has the highest average annual salary among quarterbacks ($22.13 million), with Aaron Rodgers ($22 million) following closely behind.
|1||Joe Flacco||$22.1 million|
|2||Aaron Rodgers||$22 million|
|3||Russell Wilson||$21.9 million|
|4||Ben Roethlisberger||$21.8 million|
|5||Eli Manning||$21 million|
|12||Ryan Tannehill||$19.2 million|
|15||Brock Osweiler||$18 million|
Luck doesn't have the resume of Rodgers or even the playoff success of Flacco. Last season he was downright bad at points even when healthy, and he has only one truly great season on his resume (2014) from an individual standpoint.
Surrounding talent has been an issue throughout his career, particularly on the offensive line. The constant pounding finally took its toll in 2015, as rib injuries and a lacerated spleen left him either hobbled or on the sideline.
"We have continued to monitor that with the kidney doctors and he is good to go," Irsay said in February, per Mike Wells of ESPN.com. "He's healed. He's really looking forward to a great offseason and getting ready. If we were playing in the Super Bowl, he'd be ready to go."
All that said, if the Colts are going to commit nine figures to Luck, they'll need to ensure his health going forward—not just right now.
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Contract information via Spotrac