In today's NFL, a good quarterback can go a long way toward winning a championship. It's why players like Cam Newton get $20 million a year contracts, as teams are desperate to find a championship-level signal caller. For the teams that have one firmly established - and one established for the next decade - players notice.
The Indianapolis Colts have one of the league's top quarterbacks right now in Andrew Luck, and with Luck being just 25 years old, they're set to have one of the top quarterbacks for the next decade. And as long as Luck is under center for the Colts, they're going to be competing for a championship. It makes sense, then, that in free agency, when players are looking for a title, they'd be interested in the Colts.
We saw it in the case of veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson. Shortly after becoming a free agent, Johnson told his agent that the Colts were at the top of his list of potential teams. The reason why? The quarterback, he told the Indianapolis Star's Zak Keefer. His collegiate teammate Frank Gore also noticed it, and that's why Gore told Johnson that if the two wanted to win a championship they should team up in Indy with Andrew Luck. And that's exactly what they did.
Gore's interest in the Colts was evident early on, and he called Indianapolis wideout T.Y. Hilton to relay that message on to the team. "I called T.Y. and said, ‘Tell them I'm interested,' without even knowing if they were interested in me," Gore told ESPN's Mike Wells. "I figured out they weren't happy with Trent during the season. I had watched from a distance as they continued to get better every year and they had one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Andrew, but I didn't know a whole lot about the organization."
The interest in the Colts from one of the league's top backs of the past decade and one of the league's top receivers of the past decade should be understandable when considering the talent the Colts have at the game's most important position. While there are other holes that are concerns, a good quarterback can go a long way in masking those holes and in helping lead a team to the Super Bowl, something that Andrew Luck is certainly capable of doing. And that's something that greatly appeals to free agents.
"Everybody wants to play with Andrew," Hilton told Wells. "He's a free-agent magnet. I told [Gore] we need a good, solid running back. We got Boom [Herron]. He does great things for us, but we need that back that's like Frank. We're a power scheme offense, and his style fits that perfectly. I told him he would really help us. I really didn't have to sell anything on him."
Hilton didn't have to sell Gore on anything - after all, there's not a lot of convincing that needs to be done when Andrew Luck is at quarterback. Hilton, Luck's favorite receiving target, is absolutely right: the quarterback is a free agent magnet, and that's a good thing for the Colts.