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Philip Rivers to Enter Free Agency

The Los Angeles Chargers have issued a statement saying that the team and quarterback Philip Rivers "have mutually agreed that Rivers will enter free agency and not return to the team for the 2020 season."

"After stepping back a bit from last season, we reconnected with Philip and his representatives to look at how 2019 played out, assess our future goals, evaluate the current state of the roster and see if there was a path forward that made sense for both parties," said General Manager Tom Telesco. "As we talked through various scenarios, it became apparent that it would be best for Philip and the Chargers to turn the page on what has truly been a remarkable run."

"I am very grateful to the Spanos family and the Chargers organization for the last 16 years," said Rivers. "In anything you do, it's the people you do it with that make it special. There are so many relationships and memories with coaches, support staff and teammates that will last forever, and for that I am so thankful."

The announcement comes as little surprise, especially after Rivers moved his family to Florida last month.

Rivers was the fourth overall draft pick out of North Carolina State in 2004. He was drafted by the New York Giants, then traded to the Chargers (along with other draft picks that were used to select linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding) in the Eli Manning deal. He is the franchise's all-time leader in all major passing stats

Rivers' most remarkable trait may be his durability; he has started every game for the Chargers since 2006. Since then, only his former teammate Drew Brees has more passes, completions, or yards; only Brees and Tom Brady have thrown more touchdowns; only Eli Manning, the quarterback for whom he was once traded, has thrown more interceptions; and only Ben Roethlisberger (another quarterback from the Class of 2004) and Aaron Rodgers have taken more sacks.

Comments

32 comments, Last at 13 Feb 2020, 6:27pm

1 Interested to see where he ends up

He's not what he once was - who is, really? - but it's gotta be tempting for teams in the one-year-QB market.

I think he cramps the market for Brady, too - anyone looking at one should be looking at the other as well.

2 It's pretty impressive to…

It's pretty impressive to hold all the QB records for the franchise that had Dan Fouts for 15 years.

The Chargers' backup QB was Tyrod Taylor, who turns 31 before next season starts. Their third-stringer is someone named Easton Stick. One presumes that they will be in on the Joe Burrow/Justin Herbert/Tua Tagavailoa sweepstakes, in what could be a new version of the 2004 QB draft.

16 Dan Fouts was *the man* for…

Dan Fouts was *the man* for a few years there in the 80s.  Then Marino came along and took over.

When you look at Fouts stats, you realise just how different the game was then. 

Only three seasons (79, 80, 81) where he surpassed 4,000 yds, completion percentage around 58% and his TD-Ints are about even (254-242).

Just such a different game.

23 "only" three seasons?    At…

"only" three seasons? 

 

At that time, only two other players (Namath and Sipe) had ever thrown for 4,000+ yards.  And Fouts was over 4,700 yards in 1980 and 1981.  In 1982 he was on pace for over 5,000 yards if not for the strike.  He was also on pace for another 4,700 yard season in 1983, if he didn't get hurt.

3 I saw Rivers' final game…

I saw Rivers' final game against the Chiefs. I saw a qb with significant physical declines, far more than say Tom Brady. His arm strength is a huge problem as is his general immobility. He reads the field well but that can only get you so far and at this stage he likely needs a pretty strong sporting cast to move the needle. I think he's a bottom third qb in the nfl right now, sorry to say.

6 I got the same impression on…

I got the same impression on the occasions I watched Rivers this season. I also saw a strong group of receiving weapons helping him out at times, whether it was Keenan Allen getting open quickly, Mike Williams catching jump balls, or Austin Ekeler breaking tackles. 

Somewhere like the Colts or the Bears would likely afford him better protection, and maybe better coaching, but clearly inferior receivers. He'd very likely improve those teams simply by generally getting the ball to the right place, and not being a rabbit in the headlights. But not by any huge margin that will drastically improve their Super Bowl odds. 

11 Im not convinced hes an…

Im not convinced hes an upgrade over Brissett. 

 

The colts are being dumb if they look to sign Brady or Rivers or Jameis or whoever. The coach is not on the hot seat and none of those qbs offer the upside that Manning in 2012 offered, so the move only forestalls the qb need for a year. 

The colts need to draft a qb though I doubt one of the highly rated prospects fall to them and I don't want them to repeat the folly that led to Jake Locker and Christian Ponder being over drafted.

14 I think Trubisky is a…

I think Trubisky is a complete bust, but there's no way you want an old weak-armed guy, with increasing mobility issues, starting important November and December games in Soldier Field, while consuming more than, I dunno, 5-6 % of your cap space.

30 Ah, but Rivers can't lose…

Ah, but Rivers can't lose important November and December games for the Bears if their November and December games aren't important.

Seriously, though, I both do not think Rivers is likely to be a top-10 QB in 2020, nor do I think that the Bears are merely a cromulent QB away from realistically contending for a Super Bowl. Although I guess if he signed just a 1-year deal, it's probably no worse than sticking with Trubisky.

10 And you don't think the…

And you don't think the grand canyon sized gap in receiving quality had anything to say about those numbers?

 

Furthermore, this wasn't a reflection on Rivers all of last year, just what I saw at the end. A year of wear and tear on an old qb can be significant.

 

Its a similar point I've made about Tom Brady. What will he be at the end of next year when he's 43!

 

 

12 My question is how does…

My question is how does aging actually affect a QB (or any athlete)?  In the case of Dan Marino and Peyton Manning (mentioned below), I think those were both guys who had injuries and perhaps with age were unable to heal enough from the injuries to the point that it affected their ability to perform well.

Does Brady have any significant injuries?  If he doesn't get hurt during 2020, isn't it likely that he would only decline another couple percent from where he was in 2019?

 

Or, does one more year of age (by itself) have a much bigger impact on a player's strength and agility (and possibly reaction time)?

13 No one fully knows the…

No one fully knows the mechanism. Favre had a career year in 09 before falling to pieces within 8 months of the prior season ending.

Manning was the great unknown since his neck deteriorated. 

I suppose I'm just off the mindset that age related declines throw off timing. Small changes in velocity affect footwork and decision making. You begin to second guess and hits start to make you far more gunshy. Totally speculating here.

4 People said the same things…

People said the same things about Rivers at the tail end of the Norval Turner era in San Diego, and the Chargers had so many injuries on both sides of the ball but especially on the offensive line last year, and Rivers was really good in 2018, so I can see him bouncing back in the right situation in 2020. Not saying hes going to, just saying I don't think it's proven that he's done. Examples of Qbs being done to me would be Peyton Manning in 2015 and Dan Marino at the end of 1999. Rivers in '19 wasn't nearly as bad as them.

20 Peyton Manning actually…

Peyton Manning actually might provide the cleanest example. He spent half of 2014 looking like the MVP of the league. And in the latter half deteriorating. One could have concluded and probably have been correct that he was done at the end of 2014. 

5 FO+ prices

Seem a bit high, no?

I love the site, but $150 for a full year is steep.

31 Which, when you compare that…

Which, when you compare that to what it costs for streaming services providing access to literally more content than you could consume each month, seems a little steep.

I always think less consumer choice is a bad thing, so regardless of price and whether $150/year is a great, mediocre, or lousy deal for what's included, taking away a previously existing option to buy things a la carte always sucks.

9 at some point, all sites…

In reply to by Chip

at some point, all sites mgiht have some fee to peruse. don't bother with The Athletic due to ti being pay site. have enough to read with The New York Post andn  twitter npnsense. if still in mood to read, then itn was open a book 

17 The Athletic

I can't recommend The Athletic highly enough, especially if you're into multiple sports. They not only have most of the best writers on the web right now, they seem genuinely invested in helping their writers get better. It's the best multi-sport journalism anywhere. You can grab a year-long sub for 40-50% off at almost any point because of promotions, and $0.10 a day for their content is an absolute steal.

15 I'm struck by how Eli and…

I'm struck by how Eli and Rivers careers, that are linked by that initial trade, have turned out so differently.

Had the Giants kept Rivers we might well have been talking HoF and Eli might have been out of the league within five years.

The thing that really strikes me is how differently things ended with each of their teams. Rivers release was announced before the Super Bowl yet it's taken almost two weeks to produce an article. (Not criticising FO just saying that it highlights their respective media coverage). Meanwhile the Giants can't do enough to avoid hurting Eli's feelings and standing.

18 The parallels are even more…

The parallels are even more interesting when you think of it this way. Philip Rivers went to a Uber talented team, while Eli inherited not quite a moribund one but one that was pretty awful. Given where they started and how they ended up as players, I could never have imagined that Eli was the one to end up with two rings and rivers 0.

I think it's extreme to say Eli is out of the league in 5 years but he probably ends up bouncing around a lot a la Alex Smith.

Of the three quarterbacks, I always felt Rivers was the best of the three, though I wonder how contrary in my view is to the smarter football fans.

19 I want to make a separate…

I want to make a separate post on Eli.

 

I think the analytics community are particularly harsh on Eli since he's the poster boy of the rings are overrated crowd. And I certainly get that.

 

But he was a good quarterback on net I believe. His offensive lines were usually not very good and I was not a big believer in the offensive coaching he had and the Giants were/are a staid organization. Eli was an old-style gunslinger lost in a new era. 

22 While I've never heard it…

While I've never heard it said I'd tend to agree.

The escape from the clutches of defenders to throw the pass for the helmet catch is certainly a gunslinger move. And of course 239 career ints puts him 12th all-time despite an era that emphasises avoiding mistakes.

(PS Yes maybe extreme to say he's out of the league in five years. But I could see the Giants cutting him loose after four seasons if it hadn't been for that Super Bowl and the sunk costs from the trade. I'm even more sure it would happen in today's NFL with the rookie cap)

28 Gunslingery

Gilbride era Eli was absolutely a gunslinger type. Very much a poor man's Brett Farve rather than a poor man's TB12. 

29 Re: gunslingery

In reply to by solfish

But isn't a defining characteristic of a gunslinger that they can't be tamed?

24 "Rivers release was…

"Rivers release was announced before the Super Bowl"

Where? I saw the story about his family moving and it's not like this came out of nowhere, but this was the first time I had seen player or team go on the record and say he would not be returning.

26 I think you're right but...…

I think you're right but...

 

Jan 27th - there was a story on NFL.com which the abstract begins "Set to become a free agent ..."  

And yet the article doesn't mention that at all.  However it was updated the day after being posted.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001099365/article/philip-rivers-future-with-chargers-still-uncertain

 

Combine with others rumouring the release that day and the abstract and I suspect the article I originally read stated it as fact. My bad for believing what I read on NFL.com