The contracts that come along for elite quarterbacks is a bit of an interesting, and sometimes mind-blowing process. When Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck signed his six-year, $139.125 million contract this year, it was an eye-opener, but it wasn’t anything that made people completely lose their minds. Why? Because the price you pay for an elite quarterback is just going to continue to rise. Apparently, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has decided to blame his team’s defensive woes on Luck’s contract, as he stated on Jay Mohr’s radio show.
“When you have to tighten up, once you pay Andrew what we did, it’s going to take some time to build on the other side of the ball,” Grigson said, via Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star.
That right there is a massively bold move.
Not only is it bold, but it’s ridiculous. When Peyton Manning signed his massive contract with the Denver Broncos, they went on to win the Super Bowl in 2015-16. On that note, let’s take a look at the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL and see how their teams have currently fared in 2016, per Over The Cap.
- Andrew Luck: Colts 1-3
- Drew Brees: Saints 1-3
- Joe Flacco: Ravens 3-1
- Aaron Rodgers: Packers 2-1
- Russell Wilson: Seahawks 3-1
- Ben Roethlisberger: Steelers 3-1
- Carson Palmer: Cardinals 2-3
- Eli Manning: Giants 2-2
- Philip Rivers: Chargers 1-3
- Cam Newton: Panthers 1-3
- Matt Ryan: Falcons 3-1
- Tom Brady: Patriots 3-1
Each of those quarterbacks listed above makes an average of $20 million-plus on average per year. Out of that list of 12 players, seven of the teams are .500 or better, while the Cardinals and Panthers still remain as favorites to make the playoffs. This means that while teams are paying quarterbacks a ton of money, the bulk of them are doing just fine without complaining about figuring out how to pay a defense.
Grigson’s comments don’t have much weight behind them, and the Colts have had just as much opportunity as every other team has. On that same note, you can look at other teams who are currently having success with “bend but don’t break” types of defenses, such as the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders and the aforementioned Packers.
The real head-scratcher here is the question of why Grigson even decided to bring this topic up. If he wants to get on the wrong side of owner Jim Irsay and possibly even Luck himself, then this is the type of thing that could potentially do the trick. Grigson’s inability to do anything with the Colts defense since taking over as general manager in 2012 is basically inexcusable.
Since 2012, the defense has had a positive point differential a total of two times, in 2013 and 2014. Now, the defense has basically been mediocre at best since Luck was there, yet the team posted 11-5 records three times in a row, then went 8-8 in 2015 with Luck only playing in seven games.
It’ll be interesting to see if there’s anything that comes from Grigson’s comments (not with Luck’s contract, because that’s not happening). For now, though, Grigson needs to remain focused on trying to do something to help out the defense, or better yet, just set up this team for success, instead of pointing to a player’s contract as the reason for recent struggles.