The next formality in a process that should be filled with them over the next week has become a reality. Andrew Luck has finally signed with the Colts, according to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.
The value of his contract isn’t known yet, but the deal is for four years with an option for a fifth, as is the case with all first-round contracts. The rookie salary cap is now the demon which ensures that all young men who have never played a single NFL snap remain only moderately rich.
Even if the hamsters that power the Internet wheel haven’t supplied the required juice to give us Luck’s terms yet, figuring out his likely paycheck is about as easy as walking on air if you’re virtual Bo Jackson. Since Cam Newton received a four-year contract worth $22 million that’s fully guaranteed, Luck should be signing on a line with similar value, especially since he’s some god-like fusion of Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, and Peyton Manning, or something.
Just as we did with Robert Griffin III yesterday, we now get to stop with the illogical hysteria and pretending to think that training camp would start next week for Indy without a thinly-bearded rookie who’s tasked with saving a city from the clutches of its QB misery of 2011.
Luck will have familiarity on his side with Stanford teammate Coby Fleener at tight end to function as both his reliable safety valve, and a training camp singing partner. Austin Collie is primed for a breakout year as he steps up to fill in the gap left by Pierre Garcon, while Reggie Wayne is aging, but he’ll still be a valuable veteran presence. And if Donnie Avery can miraculously stay healthy he’s only 26 years old, and still has the time and speed to cash in on his upside.
But even though a support system is firmly in place, this is still a team that will struggle, leaving Luck clawing to reach the inflated rookie QB expectations established last year by Newton and Andy Dalton. The overall talent level of the Colts doesn’t nearly match the offense assembled around Griffin in Washington, especially in the backfield. Whereas Mike Shanahan can hand the ball to a hot dog vendor and make him a 100-yard runner, Luck is left dealing with Delone Carter and Donald Brown.
The fight against adversity begins now. At the very least, Luck will surely inspire a few smash hits from 12 year olds in Indianapolis.
UPDATE: The financial terms came in at about the expected value. Luck will make a fully guaranteed $22.1 million over the four years, according to Adam Schefter.