The answer is yes and no. We do have the cap to absorb the hit, but it comes at a serious cost. Now bear with me, as I am not exactly Superman when it comes to this kind of stuff, but I like to think I have a decent grasp on it. I am sure (and I hope) someone will correct me if I have messed something up.
We have ~70M in cap for next year (~50M after Lucks hypothetical cap hit), but we also have 31 players with contracts expiring. While we probably wont resign most of them, they still have to be replaced for the most part (id say 25 players would need to be brought in at a minimum). Looking at their current cap hits, they account for ~35M of our cap this year. A handful of those players are also under their current market value, and if you take into account the rising salary cap/ extra cost of additional 1st round draft picks (3.5-5m per top 10 pick), there is no way we can replace those players at the same cost. Even if we got the same number of players of the same skill level for 40M (which would take some serious work by Ballard), we have upgraded -1 positions (as we have no franchise QB) and are sitting with ~10M in cap. Not going to make major improvements with 10M. We would only be able to rely on our draft class to improve the team and replace Luck, which puts us behind the ball for 2018.
That is not even mentioning the ridiculously small window we would have to actually make that trade with Luck. We cant trade Luck until the 1st day of the new league year (in March), and he has a roster bonus that is guaranteed as of the 5th day of the league year. That would add another 3M to his cap hit. That gives other teams leverage as we are the ones to lose out by waiting for them to up their bid, which would lead to us either losing another 3M in cap or possibly taking a lower offer for Luck, which is already going to be lower than usual due to the long term outlook of his injury not being entirely clear.
Hopefully that clarifies things a bit. If needed I can probably go into it a little deeper or take a swing at anything you need clarification on.
Exactly what I was thinking. If there is a game-changing talent at either of those positions we need to make sure we take them.
I would be very reluctant to trade to Jacksonville for a very good QB. The way their team are trending that could mean they dominate this division for years.
If we are as high as you predict (which I don't think we would be) I would say need to look for an elite pass rusher. Those are in high demand where you can pick up a solid O-lineman or ILB in the 2nd round or later.
What is interesting to consider is whether we can get another first rounder (maybe even more?) from a potential trade of Brissett based on how well he has played and us having Andrew back.