Colts exercise 5th-year option on quarterback Andrew Luck
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Andrew Luck is sticking around Indianapolis for at least two more years. If Jim Irsay has his way, it will be for a whole lot longer.
The Colts surprised nobody Thursday by announcing they would exercise the fifth-year option on their franchise quarterback, a move that guarantees him a salary of more than $16.1 million.
But before making the 25-year-old one of football's highest-paid players, Irsay wanted to make a shot at winning another Super Bowl title this season. So rather than going full throttle on Luck's second contract, the Colts have been working the free-agent market and now will turn their attention to the draft to improve Luck's supporting cast.
Then, Irsay & Co. will try to lock up some other key players from Luck's rookie class. Thursday's decision gives the front office a chance to get it all set up.
''It's not like we don't have conversations about a possibility, so to speak, of something,'' Irsay told reporters during last month's owner's meetings. ''But I really think the most likely scenario is going to be going into the offseason next year is when that second contract will come up. That's the vision I have right now.''
Luck's agent did not return a message left at his office Thursday.
There's little doubt, though, that the Colts will do anything it takes to keep Luck in town.
Since taking him as the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2012 instead of Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, Luck has started all 48 games, led the Colts to the playoffs three straight times, been to the Pro Bowl each season and emerged as the league's best young quarterback.
With Luck running the show, the Colts have advanced one step deeper in the playoffs each season, losing to the Super Bowl champion Patriots in January's AFC championship game, and he's shown steady improvement each year, too.
In 2014, Luck broke the Colts' single-season records with 4,761 yards passing, 40 touchdown passes and eight straight 300-yard games.
This season, he could play with the most talented offense of his career after Indianapolis added three receivers - Andre Johnson, Vincent Brown and CFL veteran Duron Carter - and running back Frank Gore to the mix. And they'll be looking for even more help in the draft.
And coach Chuck Pagano expects Luck to continue on that path in 2015, regardless of the looming contract talks.
''My focus is on the football team. Andrew's focus, like I know Andrew, is on being the best quarterback that he can be. We've got a job to do. We've all got jobs to do,'' Pagano said last month. ''We'll focus on those jobs. We'll focus on those roles that we all play. It (the contract) won't be a discussion.''
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