Colts owner Jim Irsay said in February that Andrew Luck‘s extension – which he signed Wednesday – would be “shocking.” Now that it’s official, though, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk disagrees, arguing that the only true surprise is that Luck fell short of $25MM per year and accepted $23.3MM annually through 2021. Even though Luck’s contract is now the richest in NFL history, Florio contends that the signal-caller could have held out for more money, perhaps by going year to year under the franchise tag. Instead, as Florio tweets, the soon-to-be 27-year-old settled for a team-friendly pact.
Here’s more on Luck’s deal and what it means for the league:
- Dan Graziano of ESPN.com is in lockstep with Florio, noting that Luck’s guaranteed-at-signing total ($44MM) is significantly less than the $60MM Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh received as a free agent in 2015 and adding that pushing $27MM in guarantees into the third and fourth years of the deal carries too much risk for Luck. Although the cap has risen 26.2 percent since Aaron Rodgers signed for $22MM per year in 2013, the top QB salary has gone up by only 5.9 percent, observes Graziano, who adds that Luck’s accord should be a letdown for other passers – including the Redskins’ Kirk Cousins.
- Conversely, CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Rich Tandler opines that Luck’s extension likely has Cousins smiling, writing that Cousins’ agent can now use Luck’s deal as a ceiling and Brock Osweiler‘s $18MM AAV as a floor for his franchise-tagged client. Cousins, a fourth-rounder in the 2012 draft (Luck was the No. 1 overall pick that year), will rake in $19.95MM this season if he and the Redskins don’t reach a long-term accord by the July 15 deadline. As of last week, the 27-year-old Cousins and the Redskins hadn’t made progress in contract talks.
- Both Luck and the Colts fell well short of expectations during an 8-8 campaign in 2015. After leading the league with 40 touchdown passes in 2014, Luck missed nine games because of injuries and was underwhelming on the field, completing just 55.3 percent of throws on 6.42 yards per attempt and adding 15 TDs against 12 interceptions. Nevertheless, that didn’t faze Irsay, who fully expected to make Luck the highest-paid player in the league. “You look at the total body of work,” he said (via Mike Wells of ESPN). Prior to 2015, Luck started 52 straight games (playoffs included), led the Colts to three consecutive double-digit-win outputs, and threw for 86 scores and nearly 13,000 yards in the regular season.
- Luck is now one of five important members of the Colts’ offense under team control through at least 2019, as Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star points out (on Twitter). Left tackle Anthony Castonzo, first-round center Ryan Kelly and tight end Dwayne Allen are all locked up until the end of the 2019 season, while Indy has No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton in its grasp through 2020. With a fifth-year option in his contract, Kelly’s deal could also take him through the conclusion of the 2020 campaign.