Andrew Luck

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.

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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.

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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.

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Colts Notes: Luck, Anderson, Barrett

It was reported over the weekend that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck drew trade interest from teams as far back as the 2017 trade deadline. Team owner Jim Irsay addressed those rumors, saying teams were willing to part with a small fortune to acquire the quarterback, Fox 59’s Mike Chappell writes.

“Trust me, there were people who would have given an unprecedented amount of draft picks – all with the No. 1 behind them – for him,’’ Irsay said. “And we wouldn’t even think of even drifting in that direction. He’s our guy. We feel 100 percent confident he’s going to come back and lead this football team with some of the new teammates . . . to great things.”

Though he missed the entire 2017 season and has yet to resume throwing, Luck would still almost assuredly force teams trying to acquire him to give up multiple No. 1s and then some. A franchise quarterback who is just 28 years old rarely if ever pops up on the market. Not that there is a market, as the Colts reportedly laughed off inquiries at the time.

Luck led the Colts to an 11-5 mark and the playoffs in each of his first three seasons before missing half of the 2015 season with an injury. He returned and played 15 games the following campaign, going 8-7 and just missing the postseason. Though he was reportedly close to throwing a ball in January, Luck told reporters in early April that he has yet to throw an NFL-sized ball and is not rushing it.

Here’s more with the Colts:

  • In addition to laughing off trade requests, team general manager Chris Ballard told reporters about trading Andrew Luck — “I’m not putting that on my resume,” Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes. Though Irsay notes teams were willing to give up a king’s ransom for the quarterback, Ballard didn’t seem to be interested in the move no matter the cost.
  • On Saturday, the Colts shipped defensive lineman Henry Anderson to the Jets in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Addressing the trade, Ballard said the deal was based on scheme fit, saying Anderson worked better with the Jets than Indy, Chappell tweets.
  • Ballard also added that the team is bringing in former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett for rookie minicamp and that he is not signed to the team, Chappell tweets. Barrett registered one of the greatest runs as a Buckeye, setting the school record with 38 victories, becoming the team’s only three-time captain and leading the team to a 4-0 record over rival Michigan.

 

Teams Contacted Colts About Luck Trade

For the second straight year, the Colts exit draft weekend unsure of exactly when their franchise centerpiece will be ready to throw again. But they did not select a passer and appear confident Andrew Luck will be ready at some point in the coming months.

But that didn’t stop teams from inquiring about the rehabilitating quarterback. Jim Irsay said the Colts received inquiries about what it would take to acquire Luck. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), one of these calls came about a year ago. Rapoport notes the Colts laughed at this potential deal and moved on quickly through a year that was the most disappointing of Luck’s career.

Chris Ballard said some of the Luck trade overtures emerged just before last year’s trade deadline, per Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star (via Twitter).

Irsay insisted Luck will be fully cleared for all football-related activities by training camp. While we’ve heard the owner express confidence regarding his starting quarterback before, only for it to lead to disappointment, the Colts’ actions this weekend and this offseason support Luck being on schedule to begin throwing at some point.

However, considering we’re approaching May and it hasn’t happened yet, the timetable is condensing to where the franchise will likely need to see something fairly soon to remain optimistic Luck will be back in time for this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Andrew Luck Yet To Resume Throwing

A January report indicated Andrew Luck was “very close” to resuming a throwing program. Well, as mid-April nears, he’s not there yet. Luck, though, did show up to Day 1 of Frank Reich‘s Colts program.

However, Indianapolis’ franchise player has yet to throw an NFL-sized football this offseason.

I have not picked up The Duke and started throwing it yet,” Luck said, via Albert Breer of SI.com (on Twitter), about resuming throwing. “I don’t want to skip steps. I’m trusting the process I’m in now very, very much.”

Luck said (via Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, on Twitter) his return to the practice field in the fall required him to push too hard, something he “paid for” en route to IR and, eventually, Europe. Holder adds (via Twitter) Luck mentioned that his playing through injuries during the 2015 and ’16 seasons may be contributing to his current status. Holder doubts, based on Luck’s comments Monday, the seventh-year quarterback will participate in Indianapolis’ offseason program (Twitter link). Luck had hoped to partake in some of the Colts’ offseason work back in December.

The 28-year-old passer has a timetable but isn’t sharing that just yet, per Mike Chappell of Fox 59 (on Twitter). The Colts, of course, traded out of the No. 3 spot and collected high-value picks from the Jets to do so. They are not expected to draft a quarterback high, remaining committed to Luck’s recovery.

I’ve made a lot of progress, but there’s still a bit of the road to go,” Luck said, via Chappell. “I’m very excited to be back in the building.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Luck, Hankins, Bucs

We learned earlier today that Ndamukong Suh has completed his initial visit with the Saints and that his visit with the Titans is still ongoing. Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from the league’s south divisions:

  • Yesterday, the Colts agreed to trade their No. 3 overall selection in this year’s draft to the Jets in exchange for New York’s No. 6 overall pick and three second-round selections (including one in 2019). Most pundits believe that’s a pretty nice haul for Indianapolis, and Mike Wells of ESPN.com says it’s also good news for Andrew Luck. With this year’s class of rookie QBs considered to be quite strong — indeed, the Jets are widely expected to use the No. 3 overall pick on a signal-caller — the Colts could have guaranteed themselves of a Luck insurance policy if they felt they needed one. Instead, the move signals to Wells that the team is convinced Luck will look like his usual self in 2018 and beyond.
  • The Colts made the surprising decision to cut Johnathan Hankins yesterday, and Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star writes that the move was scheme-based. Indianapolis is converting from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme this year, and while Hankins had only worked in a 4-3 before joining the Colts, the team believes that Hankins’ skill-set will not fit its new emphasis on speed and quickness. Hankins played quite well in 2017, though, and Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com believes he will land a contract that pays him $7MM per year on the open market (Twitter link).
  • The Colts-Jets swap, combined with the Buccaneers‘ signing of Ryan Jensen, could result in a top-five prospect falling to Tampa Bay, which holds the No. 7 overall pick, as Jenna Laine of ESPN.com writes. Laine examines a few scenarios that could lead to a player like NC State’s Bradley Chubb or Penn State’s Saquon Barkley dropping into the Bucs’ laps.
  • Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has used free agency to drastically improve his team in the past, but as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes, Dimitroff is largely eschewing free agency this year. Atlanta has a strong roster with a number of quality young players on the defensive side of the ball, so the club is content to build through the draft. The team did sign Brandon Fusco to a three-year deal to be its starting right guard, but otherwise, the Falcons’ top priority this offseason is to get an extension done for Matt Ryan.

Colts To Hire Shane Steichen As Offensive Coordinator

[UPDATE: There are conflicting reports on the Colts’ OC situation. Field Yates of ESPN.com reports that Nick Sirianni is the expected hire.]

The Colts are expected to hire Chargers quarterbacks coach Shane Steichen as the team’s new offensive coordinator, sources told CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (Twitter link). Shane Steichen (featured)

In 2017, Steichen completed his second season as the Chargers’ quarterbacks coach, helping Philip Rivers throw for 8,901 yards and 61 touchdowns in those two campaigns. He replaces Rob Chudzinski, who held the position in Indianapolis since 2015.

In 2013, Steichen worked as an offensive quality control assistant with the Browns, working with the quarterbacks. That season, three different Cleveland signal-callers threw for 300 yards in a game. That led to a move to the Chargers, where he again served as an offensive quality control coach before being promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2016.

His work with Rivers surely played a role in catching the Colts’ eye. That experience with a veteran quarterback should help Steichen reintegrate Andrew Luck back into the offense after missing a season. That is, if he is fully healthy in 2018.

With Luck out of the lineup in 2017, the Colts ranked 30th in passing yards, 31st in passing touchdowns and 31st in total offense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.