The Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill set the market for the Class of 2012 quarterbacks.
So if he’s worth $95 million over six years, what’s the going rate for Andrew Luck?
More. Much more.
Luck, who has led the Colts to the playoffs in each of his three seasons and was one win shy of the Super Bowl last year, is under contract through 2016. He will command in the neighborhood of $25 million annually whenever he gets his extension, which the Colts are putting off for the time being.
A lot of money, right? Of course.
And yet, because the NFL’s salary cap limits what any player can earn, the Colts will get a bargain.
Industry insiders believe Luck, the first overall pick in 2012, would probably fetch twice that amount if football had Major League Baseball’s Wild West financial structure.
And here’s a frightening thought for the rest of the AFC South: He’s getting better every year. Luck set career highs in completion percentage (61.7), touchdowns (40) and passer rating (96.5) in 2014.
▪ 2014 record: 9-7 (second in AFC South).
▪ Coach: Bill O’Brien (second season).
▪ Training camp report date: Rookies reported Sunday, veterans report Friday (Houston Methodist Training Center; Houston).
▪ Major additions: QB Brian Hoyer, S Rahim Moore, DT Vince Wilfork.
▪ Key losses: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, WR Andre Johnson, LB Brooks Reed.
▪ Outlook: The Texans quietly made a quantum leap in Bill O’Brien’s first season, going from two wins in 2013 to nine in 2014. And they did that with basically no contribution from Jadeveon Clowney, who appeared in just four games because of a knee injury so severe, he needed season-ending microfracture surgery. Clowney is on track to start the opener, and if he can come close to his production in college, the Texans defense will be frightening. J.J. Watt was second in MVP voting last year — unheard of for a defensive player in this era. Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett will compete for starting QB duties.
▪ 2014 record: 11-5 (first in AFC South).
▪ Coach: Chuck Pagano (fourth season).
▪ Training camp report date: Saturday (Anderson University; Anderson, Indiana).
▪ Major additions: WR Phillip Dorsett, RB Frank Gore, WR Andre Johnson.
▪ Key losses: DE Ricky Jean-Francois, S LaRon Landry, WR Hakeem Nicks.
▪ Outlook: Colts general manager Ryan Grigson had one job this offseason: fix the defense. Instead, he decided to turn the offense into the Miami Hurricanes alumni squad. The Colts signed veterans Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, and — most gallingly to the fan base — took Phillip Dorsett in the first round. As for the defense, which allowed 45 points and 397 yards in Indy’s AFC Championship Game loss to New England? The big “upgrades” were pass rusher Trent Cole (6.5 sacks in 2015), linebacker Nate Irving (who’s coming off of season-ending knee surgery) and Kendall Langford (the league’s 36th-ranked defensive tackle in 2014, according to Pro Football Focus).
▪ 2014 record: 3-13 (third in AFC South).
▪ Coach: Gus Bradley (third season).
▪ Training camp report date: Rookies reported Monday, veterans report Thursday (Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields; Jacksonville).
▪ Major additions: DT Jared Odrick, OT Jeremy Parnell, TE Julius Thomas.
▪ Key losses: CB Will Blackmon, WR Cecil Shorts, LB J.T. Thomas.
▪ Outlook: It’s hard being a Jaguars fan. Really hard. Just look at their history of first-round draft picks since 2011: quarterback Blaine Gabbert, bust; receiver Justin Blackmon, suspended; offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, eight sacks allowed in 2014; and quarterback Blake Bortles, 17 interceptions to just 11 touchdowns as a rookie. Luck had to change at some point, right? Not this year. Dante Fowler Jr., a rush end out of Florida selected third overall this spring, is out for the season after tearing his ACL in his first practice as a professional. Good luck, Gus Bradley, who was probably already feeling the heat after winning just seven of his first 32 games as coach.
▪ 2014 record: 2-14 (fourth in AFC South).
▪ Coach: Ken Whisenhunt (second season).
▪ Training camp report date: Thursday (Saint Thomas Sports Park; Nashville).
▪ Major additions: QB Marcus Mariota, WR Hakeem Nicks, LB Brian Orakpo.
▪ Key losses: QB Jake Locker, OT Michael Roos, WR Nate Washington.
▪ Outlook: Jake Locker simple ran out of chances with the Titans. The former first-round pick won just nine of his 23 starts in Tennessee, throwing for a scant 165.6 yards per game in his career. Enter Marcus Mariota, the Heisman Trophy Award winner who threw for more than 10,796 yards in three years at Oregon, with a staggering 7.5-to-1 career touchdown-to-interception ratio. He will probably take some lumps this year, however. Former Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano, who signed with the Titans this offseason, might be his security blanket.