"If we don't get an agreement," Irsay says via the Indy Star, "we still have time. And he is going to be signed. There's a reasonably good chance we can come to that agreement this offseason. He will be here, trust me. Andrew and I have talked -- we talked after the end of the season -- and he couldn't be more excited."
The Colts have plenty of options for Luck and have already picked up his option for 2016, which becomes fully guaranteed in just a few months. Chances are, it never gets that far. Luck is the franchise quarterback, and will likely break records with a contract that could soar into the high $100 millions -- or higher.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler currently holds the quarterback record for total money in a contract with his $126.7 million deal, though some of that is meaningless and less than half was guaranteed. Eli Manning and Philip Rivers recently signed similar four-year deals in the $83-84 million range which feature almost 80 percent of their money guaranteed. Russell Wilson's four-year, $87.6 million deal could be more of a launching point in terms of age and future potential. His contract is averaging $21.9 million per year and 70.25 percent of the deal is guaranteed. Luck will obviously surpass that number in years, total money and guarantee percentage.
But the one thing that Irsay cannot control is who protects the quarterback. And in an in-depth interview with the Star this week it seemed to be the one aspect of last season that bothered him the most.
"We want some leadership," Irsay said. "When (offensive line coach from 1998-2009) Howard Mudd was here and it was Jeff Saturday and Tarik Glenn, the mantra was, 'No one touches 18! His jersey doesn't get a spot of dirt on it!'"
He added: "I mean, it was the pride of the building. I can't tell you the way those offensive linemen carried that pride. We have to get back to that."
Irsay might be dipping his toe into dangerous waters. Owners challenging a certain position group is never a great idea, and comparing this Colts team to the teams under Peyton Manning is even worse. This is a different offense and these are different linemen. The coaching staff is different and so is their head of personnel.
Of course, the owner can say whatever he wants, and if he plans on spending as much money on Luck as we think, he'll need to make sure no one messes with his investment.