The Colts made Andrew Luck the highest paid player in NFL history, and it’s still an absolute steal. There are a ton of factors at play here, but let’s start with the player.
Luck is the second best player in the National Football League, and there is a significant gap after him.
Let’s keep this as simple as possible. You are drafting a football team today, who do you pick first overall? Aaron Rodgers. Second? Andrew Luck. There should be no debate around those two picks. There are two players in this league who’s teams win every year because of them and them alone and it’s Rodgers and Luck.
Before you bring on the Cam Newton is the MVP and we are haters talk, let’s take a look at why his team wins. The Panthers win around a run game, not turning the ball over, and playing really, really good defense. Cam Newton is a game manager. He had an MVP season last year and his team was 24th overall in passing yards per game.
I agree that Tom Brady deserves to be in the conversation, but he’s 38 and plays for one of the best organizations in sports. The Pats went 11-5 without Brady in 2008.
Back to Luck, just how valuable is he? In 2011 the Colts went 2-14, averaging 15 PPG. That offseason they drafted luck. The next season, 2012, they went 11-5 averaging 23 PPG and made the playoffs. In 2013 they went 11-5, averaging over 24 PPG and won a playoff game. In 2014 they again went 11-5, won 2 playoff games before losing in the conference finals, averaging 29 PPG.
Last season he dealt with all sorts of injuries, but he is certainly not injury prone and none of the injuries are anything that should be recurring or effect him moving forward. Despite getting hero-ball out of Matt Hasselbeck, in 9 games with Luck out of the lineup last season, the Colts scoring average dipped back below 17 points per game.
When you ask experts what the Colts need, you will get one of several answers: defense (they were 25th in scoring defense), offensive line, playmakers on the outside, and help in the running game. So… everything but quarterback. On a team devoid of talent, a team that was 2-14 when he was drafted, he’s made the playoffs in each of his full seasons.
When you look at the contract, the largest in the history of the NFL, the Colts actually save money by getting this done now. Had Luck finished out his current contract and then played on the franchise tag, he would have counted for an additional $26 million against the cap.
Under this deal he will never have a cap hit over $28 million, and an average cap hit of just 23.1 over the life of the contract. Drew Brees had a hit of $24 million last year, and $30 million this year. Rivers is over $21 mill, Manning is over $24 mill, Stafford is over $22 mill, Cousins is $20 mill… We can keep going. It’s a lot of guaranteed money, but overall this is a bargain price tag for the second best player in the NFL, who also happens to only be 26 years old.
When you compare the contract of top players in the NBA and MLB, it’s an absolute joke. Jason Heyward is hitting .235 with 4 home runs, isn’t even an everyday player, and is earning more than Luck. As are Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard…
Of course, we know that this is how the game works, quarterbacks get paid as their contracts come up. Flacco was the highest paid player, because his contract came up. It’s a trend that not likely going to end anytime soon, because it’s the most important position in sports, and there are less than 20 franchise QB’s on the planet.