Players, coaches and everyone in between are again searching for answers after Indianapolis lost its third game of the season on Sunday, despite another sturdy performance from Andrew Luck. The Colts' franchise quarterback struck a six-year, $140 million deal with $47 million fully guaranteed in the offseason, but has struggled to find any security behind an inexperienced offensive line and any help from Indy's rag-tag defense.
The prevailing wisdom is that general manager Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano are most at fault for failing to build a cohesive, professional roster around arguably the best young arm in the league. Grigson, on the other hand, sees the Colts' woes as the by-product of Luck's massive deal.
Luck is making an average of $24.6 million this season, the highest of any player in the league. So Grigson isn't wrong that Luck's contract takes up a lot of salary-cap space that could be used elsewhere. But as the league has noticed through the Colts' first quarter, Luck is the only thing Indianapolis has going for it; he deserves that massive figure.
To boot, Grigson has signed few consequential defenders in the 2016 offseason, adding cornerbacks Patrick Robinson and Antonio Cromartie -- who was released this week -- and drafting safety T.J. Green, linebacker Antonio Morrison and defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway. In fact, Grigson has drafted 38 players in his five years as general manager, but only 16 have been defensive players, and just six are still on the roster.
The issue isn't necessarily Luck's contract, which at least guarantees a competitive offense until 2021; it's picking the wrong talent to complement him, on both sides of the ball.
After managing to keep his job after last season's injury-riddled campaign, Grigson said there's "no sense in panicking" as Indy's nightmare of a start bleeds into the middle of the year. He's ready to face the music if and when it reaches a crescendo.
"The thing about is, we're all accountable," Grigson mused. "Myself is accountable. Our coach always brings that up to the team constantly, we're all accountable in this thing. We're accountable to ourselves. We're accountable to our owner, the horseshoe and all that. ... Coach and I have a lot of faith in this team. It's an early season. There are a lot of good 1-3 teams right now. There's no reason to panic."