Andrew Luck is undoubtedly the best player on the Colts. He deserves to make big money and he deserves to be the highest player on the team. So, if Andrew Luck decides against taking a Tom Brady type of pay-cut, what kind of money is he in line to make?
What Do Other Top QBs Make?
Let's take a look at what top quarterbacks make. (Note: Contracts adjusted for inflation are based on the increases in the NFL salary cap)
- Russell Wilson signed a 4 year, $87,600,000 deal with $61,500,000 guaranteed in 2015. Adjusting for inflation, Wilson signed a 4 year, 94,600,000 deal with 66,200,000 guaranteed in 2016.
- Aaron Rodgers signed a 5 year, $110,000,000 deal with $54,000,000 guaranteed in 2013. Adjusting for inflation, Rodgers would have had a 5 year, $138,600,000 deal with $67,900,000 in 2016.
- Tony Romo signed a 6 year, $108,000,000 deal with $55,000,000 guaranteed in 2013. Adjusted for inflation, Romo would have had a 6 year, $136,600,000 deal with $69,400,000 guaranteed in 2016.
- Matt Ryan signed a 5 year, $107,750,000 deal with $42,000,000 guaranteed in 2013. Adjusted for inflation, Ryan would have had a 5 year, $135,800,000 deal with $54,300,000 guaranteed in 2016.
- Cam Newton signed a 5 year, $103,800,000 deal with $60,000,000 guaranteed in 2015. Adjusted for inflation, Newton would have had a 5 year, $112,500,000 deal with $65,000,000 guaranteed in 2016.
The average of the inflated contracts is 5 years, $124,800,000 with $66,900,000 guaranteed.
His Production, Potential & Importance
Andrew Luck has played four seasons in the NFL, with three full 16 game seasons. In those three full seasons, he led the Colts to the playoffs every year and they made it a round further every season. In 2015, Luck missed half the season with multiple injuries and the Colts missed the playoffs. With Andrew Luck in 2015, the Colts went 2-5 with the only two wins coming against the Titans and the Broncos. Without Andrew Luck, the Colts went 6-3 with wins against the Texans, Bucs, Falcons, Titans, Jags and Dolphins. The Colts also beat the Titans with Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley. Ironically enough, the Colts were a better team without Andrew Luck this season as they were forced to find ways to win without him. Overall, Luck has a 35-20 regular season record as a starter, with an 18-18 record against non-division opponents. He has a 3-3 playoff record. Against teams that finished the season with winning records, Luck is 12-14 and 15-17 if you include playoff games. Perhaps not the greatest record for a quarterback about to receive a massive contract, but a weak offensive line and poor defensive performances in big games won't help you win, no matter who is at quarterback.
Luck has thrown 101 touchdowns in 55 career games, which is around 29 touchdowns over the course of a 16 game season. He was on pace for 34 touchdowns last season. If healthy, we can expect him to be a 30+ touchdown a year quarterback. From a yardage standpoint, he seems to be a safe bet for over 4000 yards every season. He was on pace for 4300 yards last season and has broken the 4000 yard threshold twice in the previous 3 seasons. If he's asked to throw more than 600 times in a season, then he will break 4000 yards.
How much better can he get? When you're evaluating players and deciding how much they should get in their next contract, potential is a very important part, especially when you're dealing with players in their 20s and still in their rookie contract. Andrew Luck is turning 27 in September and historically, a quarterback's prime is in their late 20s and early 30s. While there have been many exceptions over the years, the numbers indicate that quarterbacks are generally at their strongest during those years. If that theory holds true, that means Luck will be close to entering the prime of his career.
Andrew Luck has finally been given an adequate offensive line and if they perform as they should, Luck should have a lot more time in the pocket, which will ultimately lead to better, more efficient results.
Jim Irsay said that Andrew Luck's contract was going to be "shocking". While it is not the proper way to approach a business negotiation, Irsay does at least make it clear that they are wiling to pay a lot for Luck. This gives me good reason to assume that Luck will be the highest paid player in the NFL.
Based on the top quarterback's contracts, his production, his potential and his importance to the team, I would expect his contract to be:
5 Years, $117,500,000 with $72,500,000 (61.75%) guaranteed.
In the past, I've predicted the T.Y. Hilton contract to within 10%. A few weeks ago, I predicted the Colts draft pick's contracts to within 1%. It's worth noting that the rookie contracts are a lot easier to predict thanks to the rookie scale.
The amount of money that is guaranteed has been increasing over the past few seasons, so I would expect his guaranteed money percentage to break 60%. His $23,500,000 per year average would be the highest in the NFL by just over a million dollars.
A few things are certain: Andrew Luck is staying a Colt and he's going to be paid a lot of money. Expect a contract to be signed this summer.