Indianapolis Colts: Jay Cutler

INDIANAPOLIS – It wouldn't be surprising if the reaction to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's new $110 million deal, which includes a record $61 million guaranteed, went something like this from the important figures inside the Indianapolis Colts' organization:

Owner Jim Irsay started squirming after realizing he'll likely have to pay quarterback Andrew Luck even more than that.

General manager Ryan Grigson was probably like, "This is why I had to be frugal and not free-spend during the offseason."

Luck, in typical Luck fashion, probably didn't have much reaction because he doesn't operate like that.

You can spend plenty of time debating whether Kaepernick is worth the contract. You can't knock somebody for getting paid. But no matter how you look at Kaepernick's huge payday, just know that the Colts should prepare themselves because they'll have to pay Luck even more money than what the 49ers quarterback got once he's eligible for a contract extension next year.

Why?

Luck is a better quarterback.

I know, I know, Kaepernick plays in the toughest division in the NFL -- the NFC West -- and he's been to the Super Bowl and the NFC Championship Game twice in as many seasons.

But just like the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson, Kaepernick gets help from a very good defense and running game to assist with the passing game.

Luck?

The Colts' defense has been a weak link outside of Robert Mathis' 19.5 sacks last season.

A running game?

Now that's funny.

Luck has overcome those flaws to lead the Colts to 22 victories and the playoffs in each of his first two seasons. He's done it with some late-game heroics, too.

Kaepernick is 21-8 as the 49ers' starting quarterback. Luck is 22-10 and 1-2 in the playoffs.

Kaepernick has thrown for 5,046 yards, 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his career. Luck has thrown for 8,196 yards, 46 touchdowns and 27 interceptions in his career.

Grigson knows at some point, he'll have to pay Luck and some of the other players in the 2012 draft class. He openly said so during the combine in February.

Here's a breakdown of guaranteed money given to active quarterbacks:

Kaepernick: $61 million
Matt Ryan: $59 million
Tom Brady: $57 million
Drew Brees: $55 million
Tony Romo: $55 million
Aaron Rodgers: $54 million
Jay Cutler: $54 million

Kaepernick set the bar with the contract Wednesday afternoon. Now you should expect Luck to surpass it.

With Andrew Luck, the numbers don't lie

October, 10, 2013
10/10/13
8:00
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Not that any further proof is necessary, but quarterback Andrew Luck continues to prove the Indianapolis Colts made the right decision in selecting him as the No. 1 overall pick.

The numbers back it up, too.

Luck has a quarterback rating of 77.1 this season. That’s good enough for the fourth highest in the league and is more than an 18-percent increase from last season.

Need further proof that Luck is clearly ahead of his class? Check out the QBR and team record with second-year quarterbacks this season.

RG III's QBR has dropped from 73.2 to 29.1 since last season.

Here are a few more tidbits on why Luck is having a better overall season.

His 88.4 QBR in the fourth quarter is third behind only Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (98.6) and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (93.0). Luck has led the Colts to two fourth quarter comebacks this season.

Luck’s completion percentage has increased to 62.2 percent, up from 54.1 percent last season. He’s been able to complete a higher percentage because the Colts aren’t relying on him to beat teams with his arm. They’re the fourth best rushing team in the league.

Luck still likes to fling the ball down field. Twenty-five percent of his attempts have been for 15 yards or longer, that’s barely less than the 27.1 percent he attempted last season. Luck is doing a better job of completing passes within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage. He’s gone from 58.9 percent as a rookie to completing 68.9 percent of his attempts within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage this season.

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