The rumor mill has already begun linking Andrew Luck to potentially interested teams, concerning now or, more likely, a little further down the road.
Appearing on his FOX Sports 1 show Speak For Yourself on Monday, Jason Whitlock went out on a wild limb, predicting Luck will unretire in two years to sign with the Cowboys, who may or may not have a need at the position by then.
“I think he’s going to sit for two years,” Whitlock said. “I don’t think he’s returning to Indianapolis, though. I picture him in a Cowboys uniform. … Yeah. That’s my prediction on that.”
Dallas, obviously, has their franchise signal-caller on the roster. But Dak Prescott is entering the final year of his rookie contract and long-term negotiations are making little headway. It’s expected the sides will strike an agreement but there are no such things as sureties in the NFL.
Like Luck’s permanent hiatus.
“We’ve seen Tiger Woods come back (from injury) and win the Masters; we’ve seen Michael Jordan retire and unretire (twice). In this case, we just wish (Luck) the best and maybe that he finds some clarity,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said, via IndyStar.com. “Again, he’ll just be 30 years old (soon).”
As Whitlock’s co-host, former NFL WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, noted, however, the Colts technically own Luck’s rights should he decide to return, and he’d need to be released to become a free agent, able to hand-pick his next home.
Luck signed a five-year, $122 million contract with Indianapolis in 2016. He was scheduled to earn a base salary of $9.125 million and a roster bonus of $12 million for the upcoming season. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the team, though within their right, will not seek to recoup the $24.8 million ($12.8 million of his prorated $32 million signing bonus and $12 million in roster escalators) from Luck, who reached a financial settlement with the franchise late last week, according to Schefter.
If — and it’s a big if — Luck pulls a Brett Favre, the Colts won’t so willingly let the generational field general walk for free.
“You know, I don’t rule it out,” Irsay said. “Because as quickly as this thing sort of descended on us, and as mysterious as it was coming upon us, it could leave the same way. … I would say it’s possible.
“And (Luck would) be the first to tell you that no one knows. Only time will tell.”
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Luck Deadset on Retirement?
Using the aforementioned Favre analogy, Luck will be continually monitored by QB-desperate clubs and click-hungry media. The biggest football bombshell since Barry Sanders doesn’t just go quietly into the night. It’ll hover over the 29-year-old until enough time passes or he simply cannot resist the overtures any longer.
“I can’t see the future,” Luck said. “I’m not going to sit here and say it, but I very clearly in my mind see that I won’t. It’s not… yeah.
Dak Feeling Better than Ever
While Whitlock is busy connecting dots, the Cowboys sport a younger (26) signal-caller who’s less injury-prone and, considering his dual-threat ability, more explosive than Luck, a tremendous but strict pocket passer.
Prescott, who’s pushing to become the richest QB in league history at $40 million annually, enjoyed an efficient preseason (11-of-14, 119 yards, one touchdown) and waltzes into his walk year in the best headspace of his young career.
“I feel great,” he recently said, via Mike Fisher of Maven Sports. “I’m in the position I want to be in. I feel the best that I’ve ever felt, from every aspect of the quarterback position going into Week 1.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter @KelbermanNFL