NFL

NFL AM: Jim Irsay Says Andrew Luck’s Next Contract Will Be Shocking

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Jim Irsay says Andrew Luck’s contract extension will be shocking:

A year after reaching the AFC Championship game, the Indianapolis Colts enter this offseason after a disappointing 8-8 season which saw starting quarterback Andrew Luck spend most of the season on the shelf with various injuries including a lacerated kidney.

Despite Luck and the Colts’ down year, the time has come to extend the former No. 1 overall pick’s contract in Indianapolis, and Colts’ owner Jim Irsay knows the franchise quarterback’s next deal won’t be cheap. The Colts’ owner recently spoke with an Indianapolis TV station about wanting to see Peyton Manning retire as a Colt, and his willingness to make Luck the highest paid player in the game.

“It’s going to be a shocking number, nine figures and probably a $20 million starting point per year, but again we will find the right number to get to,” Irsay told WISH-TV.

While the Colts’ owner knows he’s going to have to pony up for the right to re-sign his franchise quarterback, he’s hoping that Luck has an understanding that it’s hard to field a championship level team if any one position eats too much of the cap. For Indianapolis, like any team in a position to have to sign a superstar level player to their next contract, it’s a balance between giving a guy what he deserves and hurting your team by giving him too much.

“I think really the question again remains is how can you build that roster around him, and I think that you have seen quarterbacks, franchise quarterbacks, through the years be unselfish and make sure they realize, ‘Hey, if I eat up X amount of this cap, how are we going to put together a championship football team?’ So the money is going to get paid out alright, it’s just a matter of who it goes to. So, it’s going to be a big number, it’s going to be a shocking number and all those things,” Irsay said.

When he signs his contract extension, Luck will almost certainly become the highest paid player in football. The question is, does he deserve to be? The answer, is yes – and no.

The answer is no because Luck isn’t the best player, or best quarterback in the game. However, the answer is yes because the system is the system, and the system says the next guy up gets the next biggest contract.

We go through this every time a guy becomes the highest paid player at his position. Whether it’s Joe Flacco when he became the highest paid quarterback in the game or Jeff Faine (remember him?) becoming the highest paid center in the game, as soon as a guy gets a deal making him the highest paid player at his position, the nay-sayers come out of the woodwork to tell you that they’re not worthy of the money. It’s infuriating.

So no, Luck doesn’t deserve to be the highest paid player or quarterback in all of football, but the next guy to surpass him likely won’t deserve it either, and for that reason Luck does. Make sense?

Giants release Will Beatty and Geoff Schwartz, Jon Beason retires:

The New York Giants saved $12 million against their 2016 salary cap Wednesday when linebacker Jon Beason announced his retirement, and the team released left tackle Will Beatty and right guard Geoff Schwartz.

Beason came to New York in a 2013 trade with the Carolina Panthers, and was a strong leader for the Giants’ defense, but injuries slowed the veteran linebacker and didn’t allow him to be on the field enough. After playing in 12 games for the Giants in 2013, Beason managed to play in just nine games in 2014 and 2015 combined. Jasper Brinkley played well at middle linebacker this season, but he’s set to become a free agent, so the Giants will have to address the position in the offseason.

Schwartz, like Beason just couldn’t stay healthy during his stint with the Giants, playing just two games in 2014 and 11 in 2015. As a 29-year-old starting level guard, Schwartz should get plenty of attention.

Like Schwartz, Beatty has been a starter in the NFL, and with starts at left tackle, he should have no problem finding a new home. While his production was up and down during his seven seasons with New York, Beatty played in all 16 games in each of the last three seasons before losing all of the 2015 season to injury.

With teams like The San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks and Colts all likely looking for help across the offensive line, Beatty and Schwartz shouldn’t be out of work for long.

Bill Polian says Peyton Manning could be a GM immediately:

Speculation is rampant that Peyton Manning will decide to ride off into retirement after he and the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50, and his former general manager Bill Polian has an idea about something Manning could do next, if he chose to.

Speaking to Sirius XM’s NFL Radio, the Hall of Fame GM said that Manning could be a general manager himself, immediately.

“I believe he could very quickly fill the role that John Elway fills with the Broncos,” Polian said. “The reason I say that is, during our 14 years together in Indianapolis, he would often discuss with me prospects coming out in the draft, SEC players he’d seen, players he’d seen in other parts of the country. He pays close attention to the rosters of the other players in the league, with specific attention to the AFC.”

Manning was always lauded as one of the smartest, if not the smartest quarterback to ever play the game, and Polian explained Manning even took time at the Pro Bowl to be studying and learning his opponents.

“He knew the strengths and weaknesses of every player on every defense in the AFC and many on offense, because he met them and got to know them at the Pro Bowl and soaked up information,” Polian said. “He is a football nerd, as am I. He’s more than prepared to do that job.”

Knowing a lot about football and the players that play it is one thing, but being a general manager is more than just player evaluation. It doesn’t matter how much you know about talent if you can’t figure out a way to put it all together, under a salary cap. Despite all of the intricacies that go into being a general manager, and the fact that Polian knows those intricacies, he seems to think hopping into the role would be a piece of cake for his former quarterback.

“All he would need would be a brief tutorial on the league rules and things like the general terms of trades and contract language — of which he’s also very familiar, because of his own contract,” Polian said. “He’s well-prepared to do that. He could step right from the playing field into a role like that, because he’s ready. I don’t know that he will, but if someone wanted him to do it, he would be ready immediately to do it.”

Whether or not Peyton is qualified to become a general manager tomorrow, next year or five years from now, the question is would he want to? It seems as difficult to imagine Manning without football as it is to imagine football without Manning. That said, a move into the front office seems unlikely for the future Hall of Famer.

Manning is famous for his preparation, and he’s spent the better part of 18 years buried in football. The all-time great quarterback’s wife and kids have probably forgotten what he looks like during football season over the last 18 years, and it’s hard to imagine all of them not wanting to take a step back away from football after his career on the field ends.

Whether it’s pizza pitch man, NFL analyst or comedian (ok the last one was tongue in cheek, but the guy is pretty funny) it’s hard to imagine Manning escaping to live off of berries on a mountain side ala former Broncos’ quarterback Jake Plummer (that is what he’s doing now, right?), but it’s also hard to imagine him jumping right into a front office gig.

Whatever the Sherriff decides to do next, he’ll likely be very good at it. Whether Polian, Manning or anyone else believes he’s ready to be a general manager or not, something tells me that’s not where we’ll see him next.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.