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In what was supposed to be the season he took over the NFL, Andrew Luck instead slogged through an injury-riddled and disappointing 2015.
It’s easy to forget that when healthy, Luck has been one of the bright young stars of the NFL. He has proven to be one of the select few who seem like true franchise quarterbacks.
According to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, with Luck coming up on a contract extension, the Indianapolis Colts may end up paying Luck like the NFL’s franchise quarterback, with a contract unlike anything the NFL has seen.
In March 2016, Barnwell estimated that Luck might look to get a deal worth $66million to $70 million in the first three years – a deal similar, but still higher, than what Cam Newton received.
Now, in evaluating the Colts’ offseason, Barnwell said league executives have since told him that the aforementioned number is too low (emphasis ours).
Since I wrote about the parameters for a Luck contract earlier this year, I’ve heard from multiple NFL executives who have suggested my estimates are too low. The baseline for a Luck extension might very well be the cost of guaranteeing three consecutive franchise tags. Going with a simple estimated exclusive franchise tag cost of $25 million in 2016, that would mean the Colts would be in for $30 million in 2017 and a whopping $43.2 million in 2018, suggesting that locking up Luck would cost the Colts $98.2 million in guaranteed money. That will be a fun negotiation.
The new estimate of $98 million is a massive number for any contract, but in guaranteed money, it’s virtually unheard of.
According to Spotrac, no other quarterback in the NFL has a guarantee worth more than $70 million. Eli Manning and Philip Rivers top the list with $65 million guaranteed each. After Manning and Rivers, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, and Newton come in at $61.5 million, $61 million, and $60 million guaranteed, respectively.
Obviously, if Luck’s extension unfolds as Barnwell suggests, that would blow each of those contracts out of the water.
Perhaps Colts owner Jim Irsay wasn’t kidding when he said Luck’s extension would be a “shocking number.”