The Price for Luck: What it Would Cost to Draft Andrew Luck

2 of 2

The Rams already have the future of their franchise in Sam Bradford. He was selected first overall two years ago and I see no way for them to give up on him at this point. The same goes for the Vikings; they selected Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick last year, and I hardly believe they are ready to jump ship for a prospect. It is uncertain at this point when Peyton Manning will return for the Colts, but the consensus is that at the latest, he will be ready for next season. The Colts just gave Manning a massive extension and will have him under center next season, regardless of whom they draft. While it would seem obvious for the Colts to draft Luck, and learn behind Manning (a-la Aaron Rodgers), don’t underestimate a player’s ego. In this case I’m referring to Luck’s; many media outlets are reporting that Luck does not want to spend years as a backup learning. Luck wants to jump in right away and compete at the highest level, and he has the leverage to scare teams with incumbent quarterbacks away. Luck still has a year of college eligibility left and could return to school for another season if he is unhappy with the idea of sitting behind Manning. Luck could also refuse to sign with a team and force them to trade (a-la Eli Manning and the Chargers). Either way you split it, there is no guarantee the Colts would select Luck with the first overall pick.

All of this returns us to our original question, “What would it take to trade up to number 1?” The Oakland Raiders set the market, in a way, by offering the Bengals two, first round picks for a less-than stellar Carson Palmer. If a past his prime veteran like Palmer is worth two first round picks, how much will it cost for the greatest prospect in almost two decades? Assuming the team drafting first overall is interested in trading the pick away, the next piece of the equation is the position of the team trading up. It is safe to say that any quarterback needy team will be picking the first half of the first round, most likely in the top 10. At a minimum, the team trading up would need to be willing to part with this year’s first round pick, and next year’s first round pick. After that, it becomes an all out bidding war. Teams will be throwing anywhere from 2 to 5 future first round picks around as compensation for Andrew Luck. While some may view this as a highway robbery, it is clear that you need a talented quarterback to compete in the NFL; the price for this player is virtually infinite if he delivers you championships.

Now there are many quarterback needy teams who would trade away picks for the next decade in order to draft Luck, but the most interesting team that few are talking about is Cleveland. The Browns have tried and failed with Colt McCoy. There is simply no other way to put it, and Mike Holmgren is going to draft a quarterback at some point in this draft, whether for now or the future. What makes Cleveland so intriguing is the size of their draft wallet. Coming into April, Cleveland will be armed with two first round picks, and a slew of other second and third rounders. The Browns traded out of the six spot last April to allow the Falcons to draft Julio Jones. This makes Cleveland very liquid for the near future, giving their picks that much more value. Instead of trading with a team and receiving compensation for the next 2-5 years, the first overall team could trade with Cleveland and receive their compensation much faster. While far from certain, it is possible that the city of Cleveland may be receiving an icon to replace LeBron James.

The Colts are in the driver’s seat at this point in the season, having no wins heading into week 14. However, the Rams and Vikings have only two wins apiece, and with four weeks left it’s anyone’s game. Whether we see the Colts draft the next Peyton Manning to learn behind the current Peyton Manning, or the Rams/Vikings auction the pick off, the next five months are going to be very exciting. As each week passes, the draft gets closer, and after February 5th, the true madness begins. Stay tuned.