Luck should insist on a percentage of the salary cap in future years

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The Colts want to pay quarterback Andrew Luck a lot of money. Luck presumably wants to be paid a lot of money by the Colts. And the Colts presumably want to avoid having to go through this again, for as long as possible.

For that reason, it’s no surprise that (as suggested by Ian Rapoport of NFL Media on Wednesday), Colts owner Jim Irsay originally wanted a 10-year deal. The structure has now narrowed to five or six years.

Regardless of duration, these long-term deals are getting done at a time when the salary cap is increasing by more than $10 million per year. By the time the last few years of the contract arrive, the player’s compensation will necessarily seem lower in comparison to the salary cap and the market reflected by contracts negotiated by other players.

That’s why players like Luck should be requesting not specific salary amounts in the final years of the contract but specific percentages of the salary cap. If, for example, Luck signs a $25 million-per-year deal when the cap is $155.3 million, that’s 16.1 percent of the cap. So if/when (when) the cap hits $200 million in 2020, Luck should be making $32.2 million.

There’s nothing in the labor deal that prevents tying compensation to a percentage of the cap, and multiple sources have told PFT that agents currently are attempting to hinge future pay to cap percentage for top-tier players. Teams predictably don’t like it.

Ultimately, teams may not have a choice. If Luck will commit to a long-term deal only if the Colts will commit to ensuring that his pay consistently reflects a fair portion of the salary cap going forward, the Colts will have two choices: Let him play year to year under the franchise tag or give Luck what he wants.

61 responses to “Luck should insist on a percentage of the salary cap in future years

  1. Yeah, that’s a great idea.

    A player that outright says “I want to cripple my team with my salary” is a hell of a leader.

  2. It’s an interesting idea, but it makes no sense for teams.

    How would teams handle having some players payed on a salary-cap-percentage basis, and some on a dollar amount basis? It would be impossible to plan ahead with any certainty.

  3. That is beyond absurd. I am all for a player maximizing their value when they can, but that is just going out of your way to handcuff a team’s future.

  4. As a proud supporter of the GOAT Brady and the Greatest Dynasty in professional sports history, I approve of this move and say the Colts should give this choke artist as much money as possible.

    Then they can carry on with their whining.

    If I was opening a tissue business I would absolutely do it in Indianapolis.

  5. Tying compensation to a straight percentage of the cap would have a serious impact on how contracts are written beyond compensation. Either deals would have to contain two way option year language or guarantees would pretty much have to go out the window.

  6. The problem for a guy like Luck is that taking 16% of the salary cap means that his team may be completely screwed in future years when it comes to resigning people.

    On the other hand just because a QB takes a discount doesn’t mean his team will spent those extra funds correctly (look at the pats multiple times in the free agent market, they draft well and develop talent even better but often cap space they save from Brady taking a reduced deal goes to waste on not great free agents).

    I also hate the idea of signing any NFL player to a ten year deal since if you look the top 10 QBs from 2006 only Farve and Rivers are still with their teams (Roethlisberger and Eli didn’t have great years that year) today.

  7. Or, he could sign 1, 2, or 3 year deals, so that in 2020, he can renegotiate.

  8. The NFL owners should negotiate to make deals like that illegal in the next CBA

  9. No matter what he gets paid (and i hope he gets paid well), he is still “The Caveman”. He could even be in one of those Geico commercials.

  10. “multiple sources have told PFT that agents currently are attempting to hinge future pay to cap percentage for top-tier players.”

    As of which Luck is not.

  11. Sure, great for him..stupid for the team. Are you personally trying to destroy the NFL?

    Goodell really doesn’t need much help, the slow decline has already started.

  12. Until he comes to his senses and learns how to use a razor I wouldn’t pay Touchdown Jesus 20 cents per game.

    Get real dude you look like a freaking tool with that beard.

  13. Luck should run screaming into the night from the softest team in the league.

  14. “my bad guys, my bad, my bad, my bad”

    Overrated and given free passes at every turn.

  15. Why would the team agree to that? One reason you give the QB (most of the time) all those $$ is that you know your roster will suffer for a couple of years, but the the escalating salary cap will allow the team to rebuild from some of the roster casualties that resulted from the original QB contract.

  16. If I were a GM I would NEVER contractually tie a certain percentage of the salary cap to any player. In fact if you even came at me with that proposal, I would reply “Next man up”.

  17. Seriously, if i were AL, I would play out my contract, then hit free agency. Most people would agree that AL could be a great QB, but the Colts GM has done little over the years to get him a supporting cast. The free agent route would maximize his $ and maybe give him a better shot at a SB. Not a hater, just an opinion.

  18. I yearn for the days when I could just read about NFL news here instead of being inundated with opinionated and unwarranted advice on how the players can screw their teams.

  19. “Tie contracts to percentage of the salary cap”

    “Time to get rid of the franchise tag”

    “Minimum wage for every player should be $1M”

    “Leonard Fournette should sit out next season”

    Can’t wait for the next post here at!

  20. Try this idea – break the performance of the 32 QBs into tiers, pay him the average of the other QBs in his tier.

    For example there are 32 QBs so you have 8 tiers, whatever tier he lands in on a given year based on performance he gets the average for the other people in his tier. This way if he performs well and other QBs in his tier make more, his salary will go up. If he doesn’t then it won’t.

    Fair for both sides.

  21. Andrew Luck’s success has been the product of a punching bag division. That is coming to an end with the AFCS getting much stronger. Irsay sees this as well. Well, he probably doesn’t.

  22. He was out of Luck last season, probably going to get a huge payday regardless of that happening again.

    Lightning isn’t going to strike twice for them IMO, I’d plan on law of averages taking over.

  23. It’s official, the NFLPA has hacked the website.

    Next Up : The benefits of making DeMaurice Smith NFLPA executive director for life!

  24. I think teams are doing this unofficially anyway. Multi-yr contracts usually go up in value year after year and those amounts must be based off of some projection of future salary cap totals.

  25. This is a great idea for the players. These are negotiations and if a player can negotiate it there’s no reason why they shouldn’t. Besides if a team doesn’t like it afterwars just cut the player like they always do. From the response on here it appears that many of the posters are working in management for NFL teams.

  26. Here’s a fun test for Florio: Try that strategy with your household expenses where some things are percentage based and some things are actual dollars and then report back how that works out.

  27. Thats a ridiculous way of running a business. How can you ever distance your self from your expenses if they keep going up proportionally with revenue. Most of these contracts become albatrosses anyway now we are going to make them even heaview anchors…wow

  28. I’ve read plenty of dumb articles by this author but this one tops them all.

  29. You thought the QB $$$ race was bad now?

    Oh, Luck got 16%? I want 17.

    Winston got 17??? I want 19!!

    Contracts are a game of one-upping. You’re 5-6 franchise QBs away from 25% of the cap on one player.

  30. Goodell is insisting that a NFL representative funded by the Foul 32 sit in on all negotiations/investigations, like BullyGate & DeflategateGate, so as to achieve a predetermined outcome, like BullyGate & DeflateGate. Expect Ted Wells to sit in on the Luck contract negotiations urging both sides to find a $$$ amount Roger has predetermined to be correct, minus the $5 million Wells fee included in every NFL action.
    ESPN approves of Goodell’s tactics…..of course. Stephen A. is in position to receive and disseminate the NFL’s position 24/7.

  31. Doesn’t work like that. The player signs a long-term contract to get big guaranteed money up front. The team signs him to a long-term contract to get the player locked up at today’s rate. Are you gonna buy a house with a variable principal on the mortgage where you constantly the current market value of your house? Hell no. There would be no incentive to buy if that was the case. Same with contracts. There would cease to be long-term contracts if players insisted on being paid like this because you’d be removing the primary incentive of a team to sign a player long-term. A team would be crazy to accept the risk of paying out big guaranteed money up front without getting the value of locking up the player at today’s value. If the player wants to be paid this way, he already has that option. Force the team to use the franchise tag or refuse to sign a long-term contract and insist on a shorter contract so that he’ll consistently be able to be in a position to renegotiate. Revis had been doing this for years until recently signing a long-term deal as he’s getting older and it benefitted him to do so since his skills will probably begin to diminish.

  32. He should insist that the Colts organization only purchase their banners from him. Profit city!

  33. He should pull a Drew Brees. Cripple the team into a decade of losing with his salary which makes it easy to get garbage time stats at the end of the game ( Drew’s last 5 seasons). After all, its not about winning , its all about individual achievement , ego and stiffing waitresses.

  34. I think it’s insulting for Luck and his agent to even ask for this especially considering the year he just came off of. That showed me enough to know that I’m not giving him that kind of dough.

  35. The problem I see with this is that asside from the QB position, players can decline quickly once they near 30. They might still be good or very good, but they are rarely still elite. As the cap rises you are paying the same money (cap percentage wise) for declining performance.
    And you can’t plan for it.

    For the QB position, QBs are productive for longer.
    For a very good or better QB , who has leverage, it might be possible.

    Thats why teams should be smart, and not let good QBs play until their contract has expired. They should lock them up before then. That is unless you are the Colts. The Colts can franchise Luck for a couple of years, but he’ll be paid handsomely, and he can still leave.

    You can’t have a good team if you are paying top dollar for your players. The Good teams that draft well, negotiate in advance with their good players.
    The Patriots approach players after their third year. Offer a guarantee, bonus, security, etc, at the cost of a lower salary. If a QB like Luck flat out refuses to sign unless he gets a salary cap percentage, you need to consider if he’s worth it, or if you should let him go.
    You get him for 4 years, extend him, franchise him twice = 7 years. Then if he wants 30MM or 20% of the cap for 5 years, you need to ask yourself how good he is, and what the alternative QB is.
    The leverage some mid level QBs have is the bottom tier QBs are horrible, and they cost you a few games. You aren’t paying some of these QBs because they are so good, you are paying them because the next guy is terrible.

  36. One of the reasons teams over pay players is they are banking on the cap going up.
    If Miami had to continuously pay Suh more and more, they would never agree to pay him so much initially.

    The only players who might be able to force the cap is a very good QB. If you aren’t a super bowl threat, you might want to think twice before locking in a 16% cap charge on a QB like Andrew Luck. And Luck hasn’t had great years, he’s been good, but not great.

    If a team can draft a QB and have him ready, it may be better to go with a low cost QB for 3 years at the rookie pay scale than 30MM with the good veteran.

    For a hall of famer I can see paying up.
    I’d bite the bullet and pay 30MM for Manning, Brady, Rodgers.

  37. Grigson: Where the heck is this demand coming from? A percentage of the salary cap for your client???

    Luck’s Agent: Don’t blame me. I’m going by some advice I saw on a football blog.

  38. Stupid idea for both sides. What happens when the NFL reaches their goal of being like NASCAR? When the revenues go down does the salary cap go down? If the NFL manages to keep increasing revenues, why should one player get 1/6th of the money? Why would anyone be opposed to other players getting a few more bucks?

    Guaranteeing players a percentage of the take is a sure way to ruin the sport. A few players taking most of the money will be the death of the NFL.

  39. Gee, Mike, I didn’t see anything in your epistle about the other 1,500 or so players. Shouldn’t they also receive such a bonus? Or, just Luck?

  40. “A player that outright says “I want to cripple my team with my salary” is a hell of a leader.”

    Well, the Colts do have a lot of experience with QBs who say exactly that.

  41. It may lead to a PR disaster for the player when other players become cap casualties as a result of an unexpected percentage-tied increase in the cap. The rise in the cap theoretically cushions that, but it would be a nightmare to manage.

  42. You commenters must not be in business or have real jobs…most sales people are paid a percentage of the overall revenue or profit. Most companies forcast finances based on numerous factors, and could easily plan for the future w this arrangement. And finally, name one team that isnt paying a huge sum for QB? The jets? Every team w a decent qb has tons of $$ invested in the qb room

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