The Colts have already begun working on the parameters of a “blockbuster mega deal” for quarterback Andrew Luck, tweets ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Luck, whose excellent regular season has his team positioned to fight for a Super Bowl berth this afternoon, has more than lived up to the hype surrounding him when he entered the league as the No. 1 overall pick three years ago. He now appears set to cash in on that success.
Under the terms of the 2011 contractual bargaining agreement, players are extension eligible following the conclusion of their third season — with the regular season now several weeks in the rear-view mirror, Indianapolis has the freedom to begin negotiating with Luck. After being drafted in 2012, Luck signed a fully guaranteed four-year deal worth about $22.1MM. In 2014, his base salary amounted roughly $2.4MM, and combined with his signing bonus proration, he counted a little more than $6MM against the Colts’ salary cap. In 2015, his base salary rises to ~$3.4MM, and his salary cap hit increases to approximately $7MM. He’ll remain under contract in 2016 due to his fifth-year option, which the Colts will assuredly exercise.
Due to Schefter’s phrasing, it’s fair to assume that Luck’s new deal will approach the value of some of the larger quarterback contracts in the NFL. Currently, Aaron Rodgers constitutes his own among QB pacts — the total value of his deal is $122MM, $54MM of which is guaranteed. The next sub-set of deals are similar, as Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Jay Cutler, and Tony Romo‘s contracts all have an average annual value between $18MM and $20MM, though the guarantees vary. Luck should top that second bucket of signal-callers, and his representatives will no doubt target Rodgers’ total value, AAV, and guarantees when discussing a fresh pact — whether he’s able to match the Green Bay quarterback should be one of the more fascinating plot lines of the talks.
Another interesting factor in the negotiations will be how the Seahawks progress with regards to extending Russell Wilson, another 2012 draftee who is also up for an extension. As a third-round pick, Wilson’s rookie contract is more modest than Luck’s — the Seattle QB earned less than $700K in base salary in 2014. However, a recent report indicated that the Seahawks plan to make Wilson the highest-paid QB in the league, which isn’t surprising given that Seattle tends to hand out contracts that redefine positional markets (Earl Thomas, Percy Harvin, Richard Sherman). Additionally, Wilson boasts a Super Bowl on his resume, something Luck has yet to attain, and it remains to be seen how that level of postseason success will affect negotiations.