There has been a lot of talk this offseason about the looming mega-extension for Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. Colts owner Jim Irsay said that the extension will likely be nine figures, while he also said that he hopes to have the deal done by July 4 and that the Colts have made progress with Luck on the extension.
There has been a lot of talk about the contract, but recently Spotrac calculated their projections for several key extensions around the league, including Andrew Luck's. Spotrac's "calculated" projection is a six-year, $115.2 million deal (an average of $19.2 million per year), though their actual "likely" projection is a six-year, $130 million deal (an average of $21.6 million per year). Here's what Spotrac's Michael Ginnitti wrote about Luck's projected contract:
The reality here is that over the past three seasons, Luck is statistically closer to Andy Dalton than Aaron Rodgers. But Luck’s ability to win in the postseason combined with his immense ceiling (and overall value to the Colts’ franchise) will likely push this extension toward the largest of all-time. Luck is due a $16.155M 5th-year option in 2016. Add in a potential $21.25M franchise tag in 2017, and a possible $25.5M franchise tag in 2018, and we’re already talking about a 3 year deal at $21M per year.
While "ability to win in the postseason" doesn't really belong in the conversation, Luck's "immense ceiling" and "overall value" certainly do. Those are things that can't really be calculated by numbers, either, which is what Spotrac's calculations are based off of. The comparable players that Spotrac used to calculate this deal for Luck were Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill, Joe Flacco, and Andy Dalton - good quarterbacks, but ones who aren't near the top of the league. This calculation is helpful in showing what Luck should be worth based on what he's already done in the NFL, but it doesn't neccessarily convey the entire picture when it comes to Luck's deal.
The Colts will be paying Luck more based off of what they think he will do than what he has done (even though he's been quite impressive already through four years), as Luck is just 26 years old and as talented as any quarterback in the NFL. In a league where Brock Osweiler gets $18 million per year and Sam Bradford gets $17.5 million per year, Andrew Luck getting just $19.2 million per year would be an absolute steal and would belong near or at the top of Ryan Grigson's best moves as the Colts' GM.
Even Spotrac realizes that their calculation isn't entirely perfect, as they then added a "likely" number that inflated the deal a bit more - to the $21.6 million per year range, which is likely much closer to what will happen. With that said, it's still quite possibly too low of an estimate. For the past year or two, people connected with the NFL have projected the deal to be between $22-25 million per year. ESPN's Adam Schefter, who is as connected as anyone, recently said he expects the deal to be the "new landmark" in the NFL with Luck's contract somewhere between $23-25 million per year. Earlier this week, ESPN's Bill Barnwell wrote that, after talking with executives around the NFL, Luck's guaranteed money could be $98.2 million - an absolutely staggering number. That estimate is based off of the projected franchise tag numbers for the next three years.
In short, Andrew Luck's extension that is expected to come at some point this offseason will be absolutely massive. That's the expectation around the NFL and from those who cover it, and while Spotrac's projections based on Luck's production are helpful, it's likely that they are too low - either that or Luck's deal will be great value for the Colts on a hometown discount.