Philip Rivers has been the starting quarterback for the San Diego Chargers since 2006. The Chargers have made the playoffs five out of those 10 years. Rivers is now 34 years old, and just signed a four-year extension; so it’s safe to assume he will play until he is 38. That’s how old Tom Brady is, and he is still playing at a high level. Still, we saw how Peyton Manning was breaking records in 2013, and then this past year he looked like one of the worst starting signal callers in the league. It can go fast. So the question is, should the Chargers trade Philip Rivers, start over and draft a QB with the 3rd pick?
Reasons to keep Rivers
The main reason I wouldn’t draft a QB like Jared Goff with the 3rd pick, who I’m much higher on than Carson Wentz, is because of the Chargers’ stadium issue. The Chargers are going to need all the votes they can get come this November. The Chargers’ fan base loves Philip Rivers. The guy played a playoff game with a torn ACL. Fans appreciate when a player goes all out, giving his all to win. Rivers has always done that. He stays in the pocket and takes some tough hits, yet always bounces back up. If the Chargers went in another direction, traded Rivers and drafted Carson Wentz or Jared Goff, some fans who would’ve voted yes on a stadium, might change their minds and vote no, since they will be upset at the organization. The Chargers need all the votes they can get. Another reason to keep Rivers is he is considered to be a top-10 QB (not by me) and it’s hard to get those type of quarterbacks. Drafting a quarterback high is always a huge risk, as so many have become busts. So why even risk it when you have a top-10 QB now?
Reasons to move on from Rivers
With Rivers already being 34 years old, I believe if Jared Goff is available with the 3rd pick, the Chargers should select him and trade Rivers. Rivers signed a four-year, $84 million dollar contract, so his cap numer is $21 million a year. Jameis Winston, the No. 1 pick last year, signed a four-year deal for $24 million, making his cap number $6 million a year. If the Chargers drafted Jared Goff, he would sign a similar deal to Winston.
If the Chargers traded Rivers and his contract, the Chargers would save about $15 million for the next four years. Everyone tells me that the Chargers don’t win because Rivers doesn’t have the talent around him. Well, if they selected Goff, they could use the extra $15 million to get more quality players around him. With Rivers being 34, I think three years from now, when Rivers is 37, Goff would already be a better quarterback in his 3rd year than Rivers at 36. Plus, the Chargers would have Goff for the next 10 plus years if they decided to keep him.
Philip Rivers got off to a tremendous start to his career when he became the starting QB in 2006. The Chargers went 14-2 that year, and the following year in 2007 they went 11-5, reaching the AFC Championship Game. In those two seasons, Rivers wasn’t asked to do too much. The Chargers had LT and were a running team. Rivers didn’t throw for over 4,000 yards in either year. In the seven seasons that Rivers has thrown for over 4,000 yards, the Chargers have had one double-digit win season (2009). The three seasons Rivers didn’t throw for over 4,000 yards, the Chargers had two double-digit win seasons, made the playoffs twice and were a combined 32-16.
The more and more as the years have gone by, the more I’ve realized that Philip Rivers benefited early in his career from the players around him. He played with a HOF running back in LT, HOF tight end in Gates, both in their primes, a great O-line who had three Pro Bowlers around him in Marcus McNeil, Khris Dielman and Nick Hardwick. Most, if not all QBs, don’t come into situations like that.
After LT’s last season in 2009, the Chargers have given the keys to Rivers and become a passing team. Since LT left, the Chargers are 46-50. They haven’t had a season better than 9-7 since he left. That’s six years and counting. They’ve made the playoffs once in that period, and that was lucky since the Kansas City kicker missed a chip-shot field goal the last game of the year that season.
The Chargers have lost eight straight division games. Eight! I’m tired of the Chargers being mediocre. I would trade Rivers and draft Jared Goff. Everyone tells me to keep Rivers and get more talent around him. Those same people agree with me that the Chargers had four Super Bowl-like rosters in 2006-2009. The farthest they went with Rivers was to one AFC Championship game.
So even if they get more talent around him, what makes you think he can win a Super Bowl? I’ve watched a ton of film on Jared Goff; I think he is going to be a really good QB. He could end up a bust, but I’m willing to try something different. Remember when the Colts drafted Andrew Luck when they still had Peyton Manning? If the Chargers pass on Jared Goff, when will be the next time they pick in the top 5 or top 10?
I’m concerned the Chargers will continue to be mediocre the next four years with Rivers, no Super Bowl push, and after he retires, will have no QB. That’s my biggest fear.
You can crush me on Twitter and tell me I don’t know anything (@Craigmedy).