"We definitely feel that we're never in a position where we're getting out of whack in any of the years from 2016 through 2021," Irsay told reporters in a conference call Wednesday. "I talk of cap friendly as well about the last year, if we had to tag, that we would not be in a difficult position to be able to tag, theoretically. So I think that, like I said, it was a deal that Andrew deserved. Obviously it's a big number, but again, the guarantees and no funding is something that is also something that was important in getting this deal done."
Due to the salary cap, every franchise quarterback is underpaid in terms of what he could earn in a truly free market. Given the importance of a good signal-caller to the success of a franchise, it'd be difficult to conceive a long-term deal under the current collective bargaining agreement that isn't ultimately team-friendly.
Irsay noted that the Colts anticipated the salary cap continually rising as part of the structure for the $140 million deal. The final year of the six-year contract also aids the team. The deal dips to $21 million against the salary cap in 2021 -- from a high of $28.4 million in 2020 -- which will benefit Indy if the franchise tag comes into play (assuming the tag is still around in the next CBA).