Projecting the Value of Andrew Luck

Projecting the Value of Andrew Luck
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UPDATED: Contract Forecast: Andrew Luck

As rumors build that the Panthers are indeed nearing an extension with Cam Newton, the focus somewhat switches to the other former first round overall selection, Colts QB Andrew Luck. Luck took the reigns from Manning almost without a hiccup, immediately becoming the leader and face of the franchise, while taking the Colts deep into the postseason in each of the past 2 seasons. We'll take a look at the current value of Luck as it compares to other young quarterbacks who've recently signed their extensions, formulating a forecast for what his new money might look like.

Note: It should be noted that there have been no reports of the Colts and Luck negotiating a deal at this point in time. Luck carries a fully guaranteed $3.4M salary in 2015, and a $16.155M 5th-year option in 2016.

Comparable Quarterbacks
To generate a prediction the Spotrac team determined that the following quarterbacks were viable targets to use in comparing with Luck. The key was to locate players with similar numbers, who signed their second contract around Luck's current age (25). Here's a look at the new money for each extension signed by each. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract breakdown listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Guaranteed Age When Signed
Andy Dalton 6 $96,000,000 $16,000,000 $17,000,000 26
Ryan Tannehill 4 $77,000,000 $19,250,000 $45,000,000 26
Colin Kaepernick 6 $114,000,000 $19,000,000 $61,000,000 26
Matt Ryan 5 $103,750,000 $20,750,000 $42,000,000 27
Averages 5.25 $97,687,500 $18,750,000 $41,250,000 26.25
At 26 years old, Luck is currently of age with all variables QBs with the exception of Ryan. We'll adjust Ryan's contract as if he had signed it at the age of 26 to provide a better scope for our base prediction.

Related:  View the list of Top Average Paid Quarterbacks in the NFL
Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
5 $92,334,070 $18,466,814

Passing Statistical Comparisons
We'll first assess Luck as a Passing QB only, comparing him to our variable QBS in terms of Games Played, Passing Yards per Season, Passing Yards per Game, Passing Touchdowns per Seasons, Interceptions per Season, and Completion % per Season.
Player Games/YR Wins/Yr Pass YDS/YR Pass YDs/G Pass TDs/G INT/YR Comp %/YR
Andy Dalton
(2012-13, CIN)
16 10.5 3981 298.8 1.875 1.125 62.1
Ryan Tannehill
(2013-14, MIA)
16 8 3979 248.7 1.625 0.875 63.4
Colin Kaepernick
(2012-13, SF)
14.5 10.5 2506 172.8 1.13 0.38 59.8
Matt Ryan
(2011-12, ATL)
16 12 4448 278 1.875 0.8125 65.1
AVERAGES 15.625 10.25 3728.5 249.575 1.62625 0.798125 62.6
Andrew Luck
(2013-14, IND)
16 12.5 4292 268.2 2 0.75 61
% Change 2.40% 21.95% 15.11% 7.46% 22.98% 6.03% -2.56%
Median Prime % Change 7.46%
Average Prime % Change: 21.32%
It shouldn't shock anyone that Luck is ahead of our variable averages in almost every category, with just a slight dip in his completion percentage to date. We'll factor both of these figures into our work below.

RushingStatistical Comparisons
Now let's take a look at how these quarterbacks rate in terms of rushing statistics. We'll compare Rushing Attempts per Season, Rushing Yards per Season, Rushing Yards per Attempt, and Rushing Touchdowns per Season.
Player RUSH ATT. RUSH YDS/YR RUSH YDS/ATT RUSH TDS/YR
Andy Dalton (2012-13, CIN) 54 152 2.81 3
Ryan Tannehill (2013-14, MIA) 48 274 5.70 1
Colin Kaepernick (2012-13, SF) 78 470 6.02 4.5
Matt Ryan (2011-12, ATL) 36 112 3.2 1.5
AVERAGES 54 252 4.44 2.5
Andrew Luck (2013-14, IND) 64 325 5.10 3.5
% Change 18.52% 28.97% 14.99% 40.00%
Median Prime %: 23.74%
Average Prime %: 25.62%

Luck is well ahead of our variable averages in terms of rushing out of the pocket. It's clearly a weapon that should be factored into his overall value at this point of his career, and we'll include these percentages into our forecast below.


Results

Length of the Contract
At just 25 years old, and further instantiating himself as one of the elite quarterbacks in the game, it's likely that the Colts look to extend Luck at least through the age of 30 for now. As most of the recent quarterback extensions are adding 5 new years on, we'll follow suit here.

Value of the Contract
In terms of mathematics, and in the general role of the quarterback position across the league, it doesn't make sense to weigh the passing analysis and the rushing analysis evenly. With that being said, we'll apply our prime pecentages at a 70/30 ratio between the two categories respectively. This means we'll assess Luck at a + 22.61% Average Prime Percentage, and a +12.34% Median Prime Percantage. Our initial base contract provided an average salary of more than $18.4M per year, a figure that would place him 7th among active quarterbacks. When factoring this with our Prime Figures:

Low Value (Hometown Discount)
Utilizing our Median Prime Percentage (12.34%), we're provided with a fairly average value in terms of overall dollars and annual average:
5 years, $103,728,095 | $20,745,619 per year | $44,526,582 guaranteed
High Value
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (19.22%), we've given a slightly bigger forecast:
5 years, $113,210,804 | $22,642,160 per year | $53,039,852 guaranteed

Final Thoughts
This deal isn't if - it's when. It's also a given at this point that Luck's camp will be pressing to make him the highest average paid QB in the game (though this generally means little in the grand scheme of things). The number to watch for as this negotiation begins will be the guaranteed dollars, and at this point - the sky is the limit for Andrew Luck. He's been durable, reliable, consistent, increasingly productive, and a winner. A recipe for disaster when it comes to "team leverage" on the business side. Cam Newton's upcoming deal could press the $50M guaranteed mark, especially after Ryan Tannehill garnered $45M in possible guarantees recently. Luck will almost certainly cross both of these thresholds, and rightfully so.

Based on calculations, our current new-money value for Andrew Lucks' forthcoming extension is:
Spotrac's Prediction: 5 years, $113,200,000
Average annual salary $22,640,000, estimated $53,200,000 guaranteed

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