My friend, Matt, texted me right after Andrew Luck’s extension was announced.
“Luck has to be the Bills’ second-favorite quarterback now.”
“So Doug Whaley can say the best young QB in the league gets $23M per year.”
“He’s begging to say that sentence right after Tyrod Taylor’s agent Adisa Bakari tells him how much Brock Osweiler makes.”
That, right there... is a tremendous point.
(For the record, Osweiler signed a deal with the Houston Texans this offseason that averages $18M per season.)
It makes perfect sense for Bills fans to be curious about how Luck’s six-year, $140M contract affects the impending money talks with Tyrod Taylor.
But I don’t really think Luck’s monster extension impacts most future quarterback deals in the traditional sense, as in... “setting the market.”
If anything, it just creates a (lower-than-expected) quarterback-contract ceiling. His $23M average per year (APY) should and probably will act as bargaining leverage for NFL front offices during contract discussions with their signal-callers.
How many agents can plop down at the negotiating table and say, with a straight face, “ok, let’s start with that Luck got”?
Yeah, probably none.
To me, Luck has fallen sliiiiightly short of the gigantic, Elway-esque, Peytonian expectations set forth for him by, well, just about everybody when he entered the league out of Stanford in 2012, but those expectations still carry significant weight.
When you’re a white, 6’4” pocket passer from one of the most prestigious colleges in the country, universally viewed as the most impeccably clean prospect in decades among the ever-bickering #DraftTwitter and are ultimately selected No. 1 overall, your reputation is hard to tarnish.
Luck looked the part from the start of his NFL career, throwing for 4,374 yards as a rookie en route to an unlikely playoff berth for the Colts. Both developments helped to serve as instant validation that, yes, the consensus draft evaluations were correct, and, yes, he was something special.
(Throwing for 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns in his third season was super impressive, too.)
However, over his last 16 games — which includes three playoff outings — Luck has completed 56.7% of his passes (6.71 yards per attempt) with 30 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.
Still, though... if you survey NFL fans and media alike about the quarterback they’d select to start a franchise with today, the majority of the picks would be Luck.
Hence, even after an abysmal, injury-plagued fourth-year in the NFL, Indianapolis had seemingly no issue making him the highest-paid QB in league history.
Luck’s guarantees — $47M due at signing — are critical, without a doubt. But his overall $23.3M APY and $24.5M APY in “new money” should have Whaley and Redskins GM Scot McCloughan smiling ear to ear.
After all, it wouldn’t have been crazy if Luck’s APY was in the $28M -$30M range.
That $23.3M equates to 15% of the 2016 salary cap. Just three years ago, $18.5M would’ve represented that same 15%. In a few seasons, with the way the NFL salary cap is exponentially rising, we’ll probably see Luck’s contract as a colossal steal.
Obviously, there’s no way to be sure what will ultimately happen with Tyrod Taylor and the Bills and, more specifically, how big his contract would be.
But it seems like Luck’s mega extension actually did Buffalo a favor.