With Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck's record contract on the books as of Wednesday, the price tag for a franchise quarterback continues to rise.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was the highest-paid player in the NFL in 2012, until the Ravens' Joe Flacco overtook him the following spring. It was Flacco until it was the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers, then it was Rodgers until it was Flacco again. Until Wednesday.
Luck's new deal will pay him $140 million over the next six years, barring restructuring. The total value is a league record, are is the average value of $23.33 million and the guaranteed money of $87 million. The fifth-year quarterback, 26, suffered from a wave of injuries last season, playing just seven total games because of an ailing shoulder, fractured ribs and a lacerated kidney.
Before Luck, though, a number of NFL quarterbacks could boast record contract figures. Flacco had been earning the most per year ($22.133 million) after signing a three-year, $66.4 million extension in March. The New York Giants' Eli Manning's contract had given him the most guaranteed money ($65 million) from his four-year, $84 million deal last September. And the Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler's contract had held the highest total value at $126.7 million over seven years.
Luck has overtaken all of those highs, and he figures to remain at the top for a while. After the title of highest-paid player has changed four times in four years, no comparable deals appear to be on the horizon, with no elite quarterbacks in their prime and set for a new contract in the near future.
Other quarterbacks could, however, be slotted just below Luck and above Flacco. That happened in 2013, when Rodgers overtook Flacco and then the Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan signed for just less than Rodgers. Brees is due for a new contract after this season and could supplant Flacco, but at 37, he's unlikely to break the record Luck set.
Flacco has now held the highest average contract value two different times, each for less than four months. Here's how he now stacks up against the league's highest-paid players:
Luck: Six years, $140 million, $23.33 million per year, $87 million guaranteed, through 2021.
Flacco: Three years, $66.4 million, $22.133 million per year, $44 million guaranteed, through 2021.
Rodgers: Five years, $110 million, $22 million per year, $54 million guaranteed, through 2019.