Andrew Luck

Extra Points: Mack, Rams, Rodgers, Luck

We previously heard that the Rams had made a bid on Khalil Mack, but the Raiders rejected the offer because the picks were going to be too low. Tonight, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported (via Twitter) that Los Angeles ultimately offered Oakland a first- and third-round pick.

However, the Rams didn’t see much of a future with Mack, especially after handing Aaron Donald a lucrative $135MM extension. Schefter notes that the team would have turned around and traded the impending free agent (presumably after he inked his franchise tag) this offseason. The team was trying to go “all in” on the upcoming campaign, with the hope that they could pair Mack with Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers.

Instead, Mack was dealt to the Bears, who then signed the pass rusher to a six-year, $141 million deal. The 27-year-old had a big game in his debut with Chicago, collecting three tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a pick-six.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Raiders coach Jon Gruden sat down to discuss the Mack trade with ESPN’s Lisa Salters, noting that the star player “obviously” didn’t want to be in Oakland. “Obviously, Khalil Mack didn’t want to play here,” Gruden said (via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “That’s what’s being missed here. He was under contract, Lisa. He was under contract. He never showed up for an OTA, never showed up for a training camp and it was obvious he wasn’t going to show up for the season. Don’t forget that. We have to get ready to play and I want players that want to be here, that want to help us put this thing back in high gear.”
  • Aaron Rodgers sat out three series during last night’s contest before leading the Packers to a comeback victory over the Bears. While the quarterback may have tossed three second-half touchdowns, he’s not a sure-thing for next weekend’s game against the Vikings. Head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t give any indications as to whether the team would start Rodgers or backup DeShone Kizer on Sunday. “We do have some information and no decision has been made,” McCarthy said (via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com). “We’re still collecting all the information.” NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Rodgers is pushing to play, and the team will continue to monitor the swelling in his knee as the week goes on.
  • We learned earlier today that Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson was going to miss several weeks as he recovered from a concussion. Fortunately, it sounds like reinforcement is around the corner, as coach Bill O’Brien told ESPN’s Sarah Barshop that cornerback Kayvon Webster is trending in the right direction as he recovers from an Achilles injury (Twitter links). However, the defensive back won’t be ready for next week, and the team will consider moving safety Kareem Jackson to cornerback as they deal with the injuries.
  • In an interview with Rapoport, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck discussed a “previously secret injury” to his right shoulder that he suffered while snowboarding. The injury occurred after Luck had suffered a labrum tear in 2015, and the quarterback ended up hurting his AC joint in his throwing shoulder during the snowboarding accident. For what it’s worth, Luck is convinced that the indiscretion didn’t do anything to slow his eventual rehab from labrum surgery. “I’ve seen more doctors than I can count on two hands over the past two or three years,” Luck said, “and the consensus — unanimous — is that the AC is not an issue, nor did it have an effect. The labrum is an issue.”

South Rumors: Luck, Bucs, Saints, Texans

The Colts have their franchise centerpiece ready to resume his career after a hiatus so long it had many concerned his NFL days were over. But not everyone’s buying into Andrew Luck being able to pick up where he left off.

Have you watched the guy play? Go back and watch him pre-injury…like 2015. Now watch him today. His throwing motion is completely changed, and he has no deep velocity,” an AFC offensive assistant coach said, via Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. “His entire game has changed. I bet he’ll be Checkdown Charlie. Like Alex Smith but afraid to get hit.”

An AFC South assistant, per Miller, doubted the Colts’ offensive line can protect Luck. That was an issue for the team when its 28-year-old quarterback was last healthy. Colts scouts and execs are obviously more bullish on Luck being ready to resume his trajectory.

The last time y’all saw Andrew, he threw for 4,200 yards with a (messed) up shoulder and a bad offensive line,” a “high-level” Colts executive told Miller. “Just wait.”

Continuing with some additional Colts news, here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • Both Anthony Castonzo and Marlon Mack returned to Colts practice this week, per ESPN.com’s Mike Wells and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter links). Castonzo injured his hamstring before training camp and re-aggravated it in the first week of August. He missed nearly a month of work but is optimistic he can still play in Week 1, the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer tweets. Mack missed almost a month of work as well because of a hamstring issue. He’s Indianapolis’ projected running back starter, but his status for the opener is also up in the air.
  • Both the Buccaneers and Saints paid premiums to sign certain practice squad players. Tampa Bay went well above the minimum $7.6K-per-week wages to add linebacker Azeem Victor, agreeing to pay him $28K per week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Saints are paying wide receiver Keith Kirkwood that amount as well, per Pelissero. Kirkwood is a rookie UDFA out of Temple who went to Saints camp, while Victor was sixth-round Raiders pick in April.
  • While Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson are expected to handle three-down work for the Panthers, David Mayo will start in place of the suspended Thomas Davis, DC Eric Washington said (via Joe Person of The Athletic, on Twitter). Mayo’s a 2015 sixth-round pick who’s started one game in his three previous Panther seasons.
  • The Texans worked out both Charles Sims and Akeem Hunt on Thursday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle notes (on Twitter). While Sims is a former regular on Buccaneers passing downs, Hunt’s workout went well, Wilson tweets, adding no deal is imminent. The Texans will be without D’Onta Foreman for the first third of the season. Alfred Blue, third-year back Tyler Ervin and recent waiver claim Gregory Howell are on Houston’s roster behind starter Lamar Miller.

AFC Notes: Colts, Luck, Ravens, Jackson, Jets, Webb

During Andrew Luck’s extended time away from the game, both he and the Colts organization always publicly projected confidence that he would return to the field at 100 percent sooner rather than later. But privately, Luck doubted himself and feared he would never play football again he revealed in a recent interview with Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star.

It’s a great piece that is well worth a read, with plenty of previously untold insights into Luck’s time away from football, his recovery, and his mental state. The Colts signal caller is healthy for now, ready to lead his team against the Bengals in Week 1. It’s been a long road, but Luck is finally back. It’ll be a treat for all fans of the NFL to get to start seeing Luck on Sundays again.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Lamar Jackson showed the potential to be a dynamic playmaker during the preseason, but he’s a long way from starting. Robert Griffin III will open the season as Joe Flacco’s backup, with Jackson starting the year as the number three according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Ravens coach John Harbaugh had previously said he planned on using Jackson and Flacco on the field together, so it’s unclear if the Ravens will keep three quarterbacks active on game days.
  • Speaking of the Colts, offensive linemen “Mark Glowinski and Denzelle Good both took paycuts over cutdown weekend” reports Tom Pelissero of NFL Netowrk (Twitter link). The moves created $1.7MM in cap space for the Colts, and the players can make up the money they lost through incentives Pelissero notes.
  • After Davis Webb was stunningly released by the Giants at final cuts, he signed with the Jets‘ practice squad. Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com detailed Webb’s reaction to his release, he was shocked and hurt, and the moments after. A number of teams made offers to Webb, and there’s a strong possibility Webb will be promoted to the Jets’ 53-man roster in the coming weeks if he does what’s asked of him a source told Dunleavy. It’s a good situation for both sides, and the Jets may have just found their long-term backup for Sam Darnold.

 

Irsay: Colts Unlikely To Trade Jacoby Brissett For First-Round Pick

Andrew Luck has not experienced any setbacks in a long-awaited recovery thus far during Colts camp, but his 2017 absence allowed for a one-time third-string quarterback to see nearly a full season’s worth of starts.

And Jim Irsay doesn’t want to part with Jacoby Brissett, regardless of Luck’s status. The Colts rebuffed trade offers during the spring for their current backup quarterback, but it’s unclear what teams proposed. However, the outspoken owner said he has no plans to trade Brissett — even for a first-round pick.

All of a sudden, we have the best backup quarterback in football,” Irsay said, via Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. “I don’t think we’d accept a (first-round pick in a trade) for him, we think he’s that good.”

That would seem like a lofty asking price for a former third-round pick, but the Colts obviously have a strong reason to employ a quality backup. Despite being a preseason trade acquisition, Brissett started 15 games last season. While his 39.6 Total QBR ranked 27th last season, the former N.C. State passer did not have an offseason to acclimate to his new offense.

Brissett is under contract through the 2019 season and doesn’t have any $1MM-plus base salaries on his rookie deal. While it would be surprising if the Colts legitimately turned down a first-round pick in this case, teams have been protective in the recent past regarding backups — the Bengals with A.J. McCarron coming to mind. Though, the 49ers acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo — stationed in front of Brissett in 2016 — for a second-rounder may make Irsay’s first-round pledge moot.

Brad Kaaya and Temple-produced UDFA Phillip Walker are the other QBs on the Colts’ roster.

Irsay went on to express confidence in Luck’s health, indicating he has “no doubt” about his starter’s arm strength despite the immense layoff. Irsay admitted Luck’s inability to return to action last season surprised him, but now the Colts have a remarkably better signal-caller situation than they did a year ago at this time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Andrew Luck “Good To Go” For Camp

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is “good to go” for training camp, Colts GM Chris Ballard tells reporters (Twitter link via Stephen Holder of the Indy Star). That means Luck won’t have to begin next week on the PUP list, which is a very positive sign for his progress. 

[RELATED: Looking Back On Luck’s Massive Contract Extension]

Luck will still take some days off, but there won’t be any limitations while he’s on the field. Before Ballard’s announcement today, no one was quite sure of Luck’s status for camp.

The QB missed all of 2017 with a shoulder issue and was finally able to throw a regulation-sized football in June. The Colts have been extremely cautious with Luck this offseason as the quarterback admitted that he attempted a 2017 return too quickly. Last season, the Colts were insistent that Luck would eventually return to the field, but they had to throw in the towel in November by placing him on IR.

Luck’s shoulder was largely a non-issue in 2016 as he threw for 4,240 yards and 31 touchdowns with a career-high 63.5 completion percentage. After months of surgeries, procedures, and grueling rehab, the Colts are hoping that Luck will be able to reprise that performance in 2018.

When healthy, Luck is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The Stanford product posted more than 70 combined touchdowns in 2014 and 2016, and the 28-year-old (29 in September) is a three-time Pro Bowler.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Andrew Luck

On this date two years ago, the Colts made Andrew Luck the highest-paid player in NFL history. Two years later, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the deal will pay off. 

[RELATED: Latest On Andrew Luck]

The Colts inked Luck to a five-year extension worth a whopping $122MM, with $87MM in overall guarantees and $47MM fully guaranteed at signing. Without the deal, Luck would have been eligible for free agency following the ’16 season. From there, the Colts could have retained Luck for an additional two seasons via the franchise tag at estimated values of $25MM and $35MM, but it would have put them in a difficult position down the road. Instead, both sides used Luck’s expected franchise tags amounts as a framework for talks and hammered out a deal.

With the contract, Luck leapfrogged Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, and Philip Rivers in average annual value. The deal made sense, but it did not come without risk. Luck was coming off of an injury-riddled, seven-game season in which he completed just 55.3% of his passes and logged 15 touchdowns against 12 interceptions.

Luck’s shoulder was largely a non-issue in 2016 as he threw for 4,240 yards and 31 touchdowns with a career-high 63.5 completion percentage. After the season, he went under the knife to fix his shoulder, and that’s where things started to get messy. First, Luck was held out of training camp and the preseason. Then, he was ruled out for week after week in the regular season. Finally, in November, the Colts were forced to place Luck on season-ending IR.

Luck finally was able to throw a regulation-sized football earlier this month, but questions remain about how effective Luck can be going forward. When healthy, Luck is one of the league’s best QBs and he has three Pro Bowl nods to back that up. Still, no one knows if his shoulder can withstand the punishment of a full season. The Colts will be married to the former No. 1 overall pick for a while, regardless of how things turn out.

Already, Luck’s $12MM base salary for 2018 and $6MM of his 2019 salary have become fully guaranteed. If the Colts want to push the eject button in 2019, it’ll leave them with $12.8MM in dead money versus $14.725MM in cap savings. Their first chance to move on from Luck with an impactful effect on the cap will come in 2020, when they can save $22MM by cutting him with just $6.5MM in dead money remaining.

The Colts and Luck are hoping that it won’t come to that. If Luck gets back to his old form this year, the mega deal he signed in 2016 will once again look worthwhile, and maybe even team-friendly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Andrew Luck’s Recovery

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck hasn’t experienced any pain in his shoulder following a recent throwing session, as he told Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. Luck, who missed the entirety of the 2017 season due to injury, has gradually ramped up his throwing, and has recently graduated from tossing high-school-sized balls to NFL regulation balls.

The story of Luck’s rehab, of course, is filled with stops and starts, and Colts management maintained at various points in 2017 that Luck was in no danger of missing the season. Therefore, it’s entirely reasonable to take Luck’s progress this time around with a grain of salt, although it does appear both Luck and the Colts are taking a cautious approach. Luck himself admitted that he attempted a 2017 return too quickly, which ultimately led to him being placed on injured reserve.

“I feel great. Right on the path I want to be,” said Luck, who said he will be conducting offseason practices with the Colts’ wideouts at some point, per Dave Calabro of WHTR. “I’ll be out here throwing at some kids today, hanging out, it’s been a long winding road, certainly some parts have been very, very frustrating. But I’m sort of done looking back and looking forward and I feel very, very optimistic.

“I’m convinced I’ll be ready for training camp, but I’m not going out throwing 150 balls a day. There will be a plan. I’ve talked with coach (Frank) Reich and our medical staff and training staff and I feel very, very confident about that plan. The goal obviously is to play each game as best I can.”

When healthy, Luck is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL: he posted more than 70 combined touchdowns in 2014 and 2016, and the 28-year-old is a three-time Pro Bowler. But Luck was limited to only seven total games in 2015 and 2017, and it’s fair to wonder whether his shoulder will hold up for a full season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Beckham, Luck, Browns, Hawks

On Day 1 of the true NFL offseason, here’s the latest, beginning with a difference from Odell Beckham Jr.‘s 2017 situation in which the Giants’ star pass-catcher currently finds himself.

  • Beckham hasn’t joined 2014 draft-class peers Khalil Mack, Aaron Donald and Taylor Lewan in holding out. He showed up for Giants minicamp and said he would be there for training camp. His standing in the organization may be on the rise, too. One new Giants coach told SI.com’s Albert Breer that Beckham “has been awesome” to the new personnel in the building. Breer said the perennial Pro Bowl wideout will have more people in the organization going to bat for him during these negotiations than was the case last year. The talks, though, aren’t progressing at this point.
  • This offseason’s gone much more smoothly for Andrew Luck than his initial post-shoulder surgery months did. Breer notes the Colts quarterback made it about 5 1/2 months in 2017 before enduring setbacks, ones that ultimately erased his ’17 season. Now, Luck is throwing again, having privately participated in a post-minicamp workout Friday, per Breer. While Luck still has some significant obstacles to navigate, the Colts’ new coaching staff isn’t concerned about his timeline. The team, though, will give Luck days off during training camp, Breer reports, and organize his reps like they’d be distributed during the regular season.
  • One reason the Browns opted for Denzel Ward over Bradley Chubb, who they had rated alongside one another on the non-quarterback sector of their draft board: a belief in third-year defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. A Sashi Brown-era investment, Ogbah played well before breaking his foot last November. The new-look Browns are high on Ogbah having a strong season opposite Myles Garrett, Terry Pluto of cleveland.com notes.
  • Byron Maxwell‘s enjoyed an up-and-down career, but as of now, he’s the favorite to start opposite Shaquill Griffin for the Seahawks, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes. He will be playing the same spot he did in Super Bowl XLIX, right cornerback, after the team moved Griffin to Richard Sherman‘s old left corner position. Maxwell’s experience on the right side was one of the reasons the Seahawks relocated Griffin, Pete Carroll said.
  • Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal is eligible for the supplemental draft, and ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter already posited he could be the highest-drafted player in this summer event since Josh Gordon went in the 2012 second round. Scouts have also raved about Beal, with Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com reporting evaluators he spoke to assigned a first-round grade to the defender. While this grade was contingent on his entering the regular 2019 draft, a team figures to give up one of its 2019 selections in order to draft Beal in the supplemental event. Offensive lineman Isaiah Battle was the last player chosen in the supplemental draft; the Rams used a fifth-round pick on him in 2015.

Andrew Luck Updates: Wednesday

After many months of bad news on the Andrew Luck front, the Colts’ centerpiece player has been making significant progress this week. A day after throwing lighter footballs at Colts minicamp, Luck was tossing the standard NFL football.

Luck began his Wednesday workout with the high school-sized footballs, but Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star tweets he progressed to the elusive NFL ball upon working with pass-catchers. This step came in the routes-vs.-air portion of the practice, Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star notes. He adds Luck took about 15 or 20 throws with the NFL ball, and the tosses weren’t showing a drastic lack of zip compared to his pre-shoulder surgery form.

Luck will take Thursday off, per Keefer, but will continue to ramp up his throwing regimen in the six weeks between minicamp and training camp.

While these would be unremarkable developments in most injury-rehab cases, they aren’t for Luck, who had not thrown an NFL-sized football at a workout since last season. Luck admitted he tried to come back too soon last fall, leading to an IR placement and a lost 2017 season. He may be working toward being on the field when the Colts debut this season.

It’d been a slow process after that setback. Luck had not resumed throwing as of OTAs. But he’s now on course to presumably throw regularly at training camp. And the setback watch will intensify considerably at that point. For now, Indianapolis’ quarterback is moving in the right direction again.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Colts QB Andrew Luck

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has still not thrown a regulation-size football since October — while he resumed throwing today, Luck tossed a high school football during practice, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

This isn’t the first time Luck has used smaller-sized football as part of his rehabilitation process, tweets Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, who notes Luck previously threw kiddie-sized footballs in April. Luck, who missed the entirety of the 2017 campaign with a shoulder injury, will be on a scaled-back schedule during training camp, per Holder, although Schefter reports Luck won’t have any physical limitations.

The story of Luck’s rehab, of course, is filled with stops and starts, and Colts management maintained at various points in 2017 that Luck was in no danger of missing the season. So while it’s fair to take today’s news with a grain of salt, Luck himself does appear to have a more optimistic view of his own health than he’d held previously. “Absolutely,” Luck said when asked if he’ll be ready for Week 1, tweets Kevin Bowen of Colts.com. “No knock on wood. I believe it in my bones.”

When healthy, Luck is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL: he posted more than 70 combined touchdowns in 2014 and 2016, and the 28-year-old is a three-time Pro Bowler. But Luck was limited to only seven total games in 2015 and 2017, and it’s fair to wonder whether his shoulder will hold up for a full season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.