Lost in the shuffle of recent comments made by Colts owner Jim Irsay about Peyton Manning and his hope that Manning will retire as a member of the Colts, were some pretty significant predictions for Andrew Luck's next contract.
"It's going to be a big number," Irsay told WISH-TV, via the team's official site. "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."
We'll see exactly what Irsay means by shocking. A nine-figure deal would not be surprising -- Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Tony Romo, Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler have all signed them during the past five seasons. The inner workings, however, will be truly fascinating.
A nine-figure deal with a $20 million-per-year starter is now elevating Luck into a territory known only by Newton, Rodgers, Brees, Ryan and Flacco, but given Luck's age and the current rise in available salary-cap money, the deal could set records.
The shocking part might come in a guarantee percentage, which has steadily risen over the years. Outside of rookie contracts, established veterans like Philip Rivers and Eli Manning have inked deals recently that include more than 77 percent of the deal guaranteed, according to league records. Newton's recent deal, for example, only guarantees about half of the total ($57.8M).
Either way, putting "shocking" and "nine figures" as a deal foundation probably isn't the smartest negotiating ploy unless Irsay and Luck's agents already have something in mind. One thing is clear: They can't let him go.