|It's a done deal: Luck is the Colts' next franchise QB. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Andrew Luck is under contract with the Indianapolis Colts, CBSSports.com's Michael Freeman confirmed Thursday afternoon. Owner Jim Irsay enthusiastically announced the good news shortly thereafter (as did Luck's agent):
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed but Luck is expected to get something in the neighborhood of the $22.05 million contract signed by 2011 first-overall pick Cam Newton.
For now, the organization can officially begin the rebuilding process that began when the previous franchise quarterback, Peyton Manning, was sidelined for the 2011 season with multiple neck surgeries and the team won just two games.
The Redskins signed their newest star, No. 2 overall selection Robert Griffin III earlier in the week, and now Luck, the first player taken in April's draft, joins him as the latest first-rounder to ink his deal. (Thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, only 12 first-round picks remain unsigned.)
Irsay sounded unconcerned Wednesday that the two sides would come to terms.
"Anybody who's done negotiations knows that you can get close and then remain close for a long period of time," he said. "You know, close doesn't always mean that it's going to get done the next day. He'll be in camp. There is no question that he will be signed in time."
And now that's the case.
Luck faces a daunting task as a rookie. Not only is he replacing a legend in Manning, but he'll be doing it with an entirely new coaching staff and a gutted roster. That said, the Colts should be better than last year's team, and it's not (completely) unreasonable to think that they could win seven or eight games.
First things first, though: getting comfortable in a new offense, with new players, in a new league. To help navigate him through this season, new coach Chuck Pagano hired offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who was Manning's first quarterbacks coach in Indy back in 1998.
"Bruce's resume speaks for itself," Pagano said during Super Bowl Week. "He called plays at the highest level and he's won a Super Bowl. … He understands how to develop quarterbacks, especially young quarterbacks. Bruce and I go back a long time. His philosophy matches our philosophy, and the pieces we're going to put around him [match] his passion and energy. He's a brilliant guy, he thinks outside the box so I feel really fortunate that Bruce is with us."
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