News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 20, 2012

Four years to try Luck

Colts’ rookie quarterback signs deal reportedly worth $22 million

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — With the start of training camp one week away — players are due to report July 28 at Anderson University — the Indianapolis Colts signed rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to a four-year contract Thursday afternoon.

Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, and the Colts agreed to a deal that is reportedly worth $22 million with a $14.5 million signing bonus. Indianapolis also has an option for a fifth year.

While the two sides had been close to an agreement for the last several weeks, Indianapolis officials and Will Wilson, Luck’s agent, came to terms a day after the NFL’s No. 2 overall selection, quarterback Robert Griffin III, signed with Washington. Griffin’s agreement with the Redskins also was for four years (with an option for a fifth) and was worth $21.1 million.

Thanks to the collective bargaining agreement brokered between the league and the NFL Players Association last summer, the parameters of a proposed contract had been on the table ever since Luck was taken by the Colts in April.

His deal is very similar to what Cam Newton, taken by Carolina as the NFL’s No. 1 pick in 2011, received. The new CBA allows the league to slot player contracts taken by teams in the first round. Holding up an agreement, however, was language on a variety of minor issues.

One such bargaining hang-up involved language over “offsets,” which allow teams to recover part of the guaranteed contract if they release a player and he signs with another team. The offset would reduce the obligation of money from the new team.

According to ESPN analyst Andrew Brandt, team officials throughout the league are concerned that if rookies received guarantees with no offset, then veteran players would demand the same thing. That could set a precedent.

While exact details of Luck’s deal have not been disclosed, the Colts did not allow the possibility of an offset provision to derail further progress on a final fully guaranteed contract. Other reported issues included lengthy discussions about marketing and personal endorsement opportunities.

With Luck now in the fold, the stage should be set for Indianapolis’ two remaining unsigned players — tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. Fleener was the Colts’ second-round draft pick, while Allen was taken in the third round.

• Colts to host rookie mini-camp — Before the start of training camp in Anderson, Indianapolis will have a three-day rookie mini-camp at the team’s West 56th Street facility.

The workouts, which are closed to the public, begin Wednesday and will wrap up next Friday. Players won’t be allowed to participate unless they are signed, which should hasten negotiations with Fleener and Allen.

Indianapolis’ first training-camp workouts are set for Sunday, July 29.

• Roster updates — The Colts added former Cincinnati, Seattle and Carolina defensive lineman Jason Shirley to the team’s offseason roster Thursday. Shirley was a fifth-round pick by the Bengals in 2008.

Indianapolis signed undrafted free-agent linebacker Larry Lumpkin last week. Lumpkin played at Carson-Newman for two seasons after transferring from Alabama A&M. Undrafted linebacker Chris Galippo, signed in May, was released earlier this month.

Quarterbacks David Legree and Trevor Vittatoe also were released by the Colts. The decision to part ways with Legree and Vittatoe leaves Luck, Drew Stanton and rookie Chandler Harnish as the only three QBs on the roster heading into training camp.