For most of this week, the big story in the NFL was that the Washington Redskins were holding their rookie training camp without number-two overall pick in April's draft Robert Griffin III, who had yet to sign a contract with the team. That all changed on Wednesday, when Griffin agreed to a fully guaranteed deal that will pay him $21.1 million over four years and then promptly joined his team at practice. Now all eyes turn toward our fair city, where the Indianapolis Colts and presumed franchise quarterback Andrew Luck remain conspicuously at an impasse in contract talks with a week remaining until training camp opens in Anderson. For the second time in three months, the Colts are on the clock, and this countdown is not nearly as exciting for fans who are chomping at the bit to see our new team together for the first time.
The funny thing about these non-signings (they don't become "holdouts" until team camps officially begin) is that the new collective bargaining agreement was supposed to make rookie deals a cinch to put together. The league presents teams and player agents with a definitive salary framework based on draft position, the two sides build a contract based on those parameters and everyone signs on the dotted line. Except that there is always a little bit of wiggle room built into these things, of course, and there is the rub. Apparently, the most common hangup this year has been with so-called "offset" language which would give some financial relieve to teams who release a player within that four-year time span. Not surprisingly, teams want the language in place, and players want it killed.
Around here, there is still the perception that some of the delay in getting Luck under contract is that the Colts want to have a say in which commercial opportunities he pursues as an NFL player. Owner Jim Irsay swears up and down that that's not the case, but these types of ideas die hard and Irsay is emerging as a more controlling figure in this post-Peyton Manning era. The boss has probably always pulled a large proportion of the Blue and White strings, but he has become much more visible in 2012 and teeters on the edge of being overbearing. Cutting the bull and signing Luck soon would help ensure that the Colts get a rolling start to the new era as they try to instill some confidence in a wavering fan base. If Luck misses any time at training camp due to contract issues, there will be a cacophony of jeers in Indy before the Colts can even lose their first game.
A Luck deal will get done, so why not save everyone a little heartache and wrap it up now?
Adam Hughes was raised, and still lives, in rural Indiana. He has been a Colts fans since the team arrived in Indianapolis on a snowy morning in 1984. The Blue and White eventually replaced the Chicago Bears as his #1 team, and Super Bowl XLI was a dream come true.