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Andrew Luck could be playing for his job in 2018

Andrew Luck injury 2018

The NFL offseason is primetime for wild speculation, and outlandish trade theories run rampant in the news cycle. Earlier this year, we saw this with the trade rumors regarding Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Now that the draft has come and gone, those talks have mostly died down. However, there is another story that many people don’t seem to be following: Andrew Luck’s future in Indianapolis.

After missing the entire 2017 season due to a shoulder injury, Luck will be a welcome sight for Colts fans, as he is expected to be available during training camp. Since he was drafted, the Indianapolis Colts have had a 10-16 record without the services of Andrew Luck. Compare this to his 43-27 record and it is clear why he is the face of the Colts’ franchise.

When he is on the field, Luck is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. But with his injury history and his high cap number, could we see Andrew Luck in a new uniform in 2019? It is unlikely, but if he cannot perform next season, there are some reasons why Indy could move on from the former No. 1 overall pick.

The Salary

Andrew Luck injury 2018
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

For starters, Luck’s contract puts the Colts in a tricky situation.

In 2016, the team signed Luck to a six-year, $140 million extension, the biggest contract in NFL history at the time. With a $24 million cap hit this year, Luck will be the seventh-highest paid player in the NFL in 2018. This is a hefty price for a player who has struggled to stay on the field as of late.

One interesting piece of information regarding Luck’s contract is his guaranteed money. The contract’s front-heavy structure would allow Indy to move on from the quarterback next season with little repercussion. If the Colts were to release Luck right now, it would result in $40 million in dead cap space. If things don’t work out next season, the Colts could move on from him with only a $12.8 million cap penalty.

This potential out would save the team over $50 million in cap space over the next three years. This, along with an already large sum of cap space, would allow the team to enter a full rebuild and find their next quarterback of the future.

The front office

Andrew Luck injury 2018
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard. (Photo from offthemonstersports.com)

Along with this, the current Colts’ front office has no emotional ties to Luck. Since he was drafted in 2012, the entire coaching staff has left Indianapolis. Former general manager Ryan Grigson is also no longer with the team.

After three outstanding years, Luck struggled to stay on the field in 2015. A sprained shoulder and later a lacerated kidney derailed his season, allowing him to only start seven games. His nagging shoulder injury bled into the next season, but Luck was able to start 15 games. He then underwent shoulder surgery, and he has not played a down since.

With such a laundry list of injuries, there will be even more pressure on Andrew Luck to bounce back. He will need to prove to his new coaching staff that he is still the top-tier quarterback we saw from 2012-14. It is common for new regimes to start fresh with a new quarterback, so patience may grow thin if he cannot produce next season.

Conclusion

Although there will be plenty of pressure on Andrew Luck to return to form, saying that he will not return to Indianapolis in 2019 is purely speculative. Since he was in college, Luck has been heralded as a generational talent.

He turned his team into a playoff contender, and when healthy, is easily one of the league’s top five quarterbacks. Barring another major setback with his shoulder rehab, Luck should be the Colts’ franchise quarterback for years to come.

 

Featured image by Getty Images

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