That Luck Contract

By: S. Davis

You’ve read the news by now about the agreement reached between Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. An impressive $140 million extension – which is an arbitrary figure as far as NFL contracts go – over the span of six years (with $87 million guaranteed). Oddly enough the deal seems to be…lacking.

What’s amusing, while not surprising, has been the public response. Fans are screaming in the manner in which they usually do because they’re “fans” – which is short for fanatics – by pouting and posting angry rants across social media and comments sections. They’re knocking Luck because, what exactly? His compensation in comparison to theirs; I won’t even tackle that one. It’s not about you at all.

This isn’t rocket science or advanced physics here. It’s simple, really. Andrew Luck will never have as much leverage as he does now and the biggest notch he has in his bargaining power is his youth. Additionally, he has a few division titles, playoff wins and is regarded as the future face of the entire league. This is the time – and the man to change the market for marquee players going forward. In such a violent game nailing down the guaranteed money is paramount yet “fans” seem to miss this point. Really? Why are most pro-management in this case? I’m always pro-player, especially in this sport, yet “fans” make such compelling arguments such as “Well, he’s rich so why complain?” and “That’s too much money for an athlete anyway.” That completely misses the point, fanatics.

Where’s the argument about how much the owners make? Also, the NFL salary cap is going up…again! Since 2013 the salary cap jumped 26 percent from $123 million to $155.27 million. Luck should’ve said “Five years, 125 million, fully guaranteed. No? I’ll hit free agency and watch me get it.”  Personally I think 10-14 teams would’ve looked at his demands and someone would’ve bit. It only takes one team.

I’m happy he got his contract but it could’ve changed things had he held firm. Someone will eventually challenge owners in contract negotiations and Luck had the opportunity. He let them off and I’m sure all 32 owners are breathing a sigh of relief. If he isn’t the player – at quarterback, no less – to scare them during contract negotiations who will be the one to do so? A monumental opportunity was missed here. The NFLPA should’ve met with Luck and his representatives to coordinate a unified front – provided that’s allowed under the collective bargaining agreement – to get Luck to push for a fully guaranteed contract. It would’ve been grand. There is nothing preventing owners from handing out a contract actually worth the money it’s reported to be…but the players. Selfishly, I wanted to see Luck pin the Colts into a corner and see how the other 31 teams would shutter knowing, eventually, they would reach that point with one of their players. This was bigger than a ho-hum extension…until it turned out to be business as usual.

He’s making too much, huh? Would anyone turn down any of that money? Franchises can restructure the payout through deferments to make sure the cap is cleared up to make other signings; teams do it all the time. Stop being fanatics.

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