Colts’ Jim Irsay on Andrew Luck extension: ‘The sooner, the better’
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Apparently the only thing Jim Irsay won’t have to give Andrew Luck is the tailored shirt off his back.
Everything else seems to be in play as the owner of the Indianapolis Colts continues to pursue an extension for his franchise quarterback that figures to make Luck the NFL’s highest-paid player.
Irsay and Luck talked briefly after a Tuesday minicamp practice at the team complex, and Luck complimented his boss on the sunglasses he was wearing.
“I said, ‘You want those, too?’’’ Irsay said with a laugh while meeting with the media during Wednesday’s open session at Lucas Oil Stadium. “They were gold. These are regulars.’’
Forget gold. Luck soon will be rolling in green. He’s in the fifth year of his rookie contract, and scheduled to earn $16.155 million in 2016.
However, Irsay and Will Wilson, Luck’s uncle and agent, are in the midst of serious negotiations aimed at producing what will be a ground-breaking extension for Luck. It could be a five- or six-year contract that might average $25 million per year. The size of the guaranteed money could reach the $60-65 million neighborhood.
Irsay dismissed a report earlier Wednesday that mentioned initial discussions included a possible 10-year contract for Luck.
“That wouldn’t be accurate,’’ he said. “That would be a reach and it would be hard to predict that far down the track. We weren’t aiming in that direction and they didn’t volunteer to.’’
Irsay initially mentioned July 4 as a soft target date to finalize an extension, and recently extended that to getting a deal in place by the start of training camp in late July. Each side, he emphasized, has shown a willingness to be flexible.
“Look, we went into it knowing that this is going to be a big contract and a big deal and all those things,’’ Irsay said. “We didn’t hide any cards in that way.
“There’s been compromise on both sides. I would be surprised if we don’t have something done before training camp.’’
Irsay mentioned he has a “great relationship’’ with Wilson, and added “I see something getting done. It’s not easy. It’s obviously going to be a big number and we want to make sure the contract is something that’s Colt-friendly as we approach even the next decade.’’
According to Overthecap.com, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has the highest per-year average salary at $22.133 million. He’s followed by Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers ($22 million), Seattle’s Russell Wilson ($21.9 million) and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger. The most guaranteed money belongs to Miami Dolphins’ defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh ($59.955 million) followed by Rodgers ($54 million).
“In the end you guys know what it’s about,’’ Irsay said. “It comes down to the debate in the negotiations of years, total number, total guarantees and those sorts of things, and obviously how it relates to the cap.
“But I haven’t seen anything that’s just been a problem, that’s going to hold it up. I see progress being made.
“I think both sides believe the sooner, the better.’’
Luck is coming off the worst year of his career. He dealt with shoulder, rib and kidney injuries that forced him to miss nine games. The Colts finished 8-8 and failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
One of the team’s offseason objectives has been getting Luck to realize when it’s worth risking injury by extending a play, and when it’s prudent to throw the football away, take a sack or run out of bounds.
Early in Wednesday’s practice, he rolled to his right and slid as the defense converged.
“Always good to see him slide,’’ Irsay said. “Look, he’s got to make plays. I know quarterbacks like him that are athletic and those things. You want to see him try to make plays with his feet when he can.
“However, sometimes you do have to shut it down and just say ‘Second and 10.’ He knows staying on the field is critical for him having a Hall of Fame and great career that he’s just aiming and desiring to have.
“I know he went to Stanford. He’s smart. I think we’ll see him get down maybe a few more times this year.’’
Irsay said defensive lineman Henry Anderson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Nov. 8 against Denver, is progressing, but might not be ready for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against Detroit.
“Certainly we hope it’s going to be early season,’’ he said. “He was a big loss for us last year.’’
Also, coach Chuck Pagano said second-year cornerback D’Joun Smith suffered some type of setback while rehabbing a knee injury that forced him to miss the majority of his rookie season. Smith has not participated in any of the Colts’ offseason, on-field work.
“He just had a little bit of a setback with that but fully expect him to be well and ready for the start of training camp,’’ Pagano said.