Recently, it has become known that the Los Angeles Chargers are prepared to move on from longtime quarterback Philip Rivers.
Rivers has been with the team since 2004, and has been the starter since 2006. In fact, he’s been the only starter since 2006, not missing a game in that time.
However, the Chargers are coming off of a massively disappointing season. A season in which Rivers might have had his worst numbers as a starter.
Now Rivers is a free agent, and at 38 it’s not all that surprising that the Chargers are looking into other options. However, moving on from Rivers right now could prove to be a huge mistake for Los Angeles.
It really is almost that time for the Chargers to start a rebuild. The problem is that those pieces might not be in place yet. They have very good running backs. Not superstars though. Do they re-sign Melvin Gordon? If so that’s far from a rebuild.
Keenan Allen is a star receiver, and being paid like one too. Mike Williams is also a monster, although his contract isn’t too hefty at the moment. The issue is, both those receivers are closing in on the end of their contracts. Allen’s ends after 2020 and Williams’ ends after 2021.
Hunter Henry is a really promising tight end, but a free agent that will likely get a big pay day from someone. So if the Chargers want to retain him, the money will be high.
The offensive line features a few stars who are getting paid nice sums, and some who are in line for big deals soon as well.
Defensively, Derwin James is a star and is paid through 2022, so he’s good. Linebackers Melvin Ingram and Thomas Davis are both getting a lot of money, and both contracts expire at the end of the 2020 season. Davis will be 37 by then, and might be done with his career, so the Chargers will need to find a replacement for him too.
Cornerback Casey Hayward will command a lot of money, and his contract ends after 2021. Most importantly, Joey Bosa’s contract is up after the 2020 season. That’s a massive contract the Chargers need to get done.
Do you see the problem though? Those are all big contracts that need to be worked out. There are also quite a few players who are closing in their prime or on the tail end of it (when you add in the offensive line and players like Davis).
Los Angeles can’t afford a rebuild at quarterback right now. It would just be wasting all this talent. So taking a quarterback in the draft means you’re wasting talent on your roster for a few years. That could do a lot of damage.
This is especially true considering there is no guarantee Los Angeles is able to retain all the talent when their contracts expire. And the fact they’d be taking a gamble on a rookie quarterback.
So what about free agency? The only quarterbacks with the credentials of Rivers are Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Both just as close (if not closer) to retirement than Rivers, and both are more likely to sign with their old teams than with the Chargers.
Why not get the best of both worlds? Re-sign Rivers to a one or two-year deal. Then find a quarterback in the draft.
The Chargers were certainly disappointing in 2019. They weren’t far off from a Super Bowl run in 2018 though. Taking Rivers out of that equation could end in disaster and end up ruining some of the elite talent the team still has.