San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown for 36.655 yards and 252 touchdowns over his 11-year career. In a day and age where having a quality quarterback is of paramount importance, it seems asinine that a team would even consider trading such a player when good years are seemingly remaining. Yet, that crazy scenario seems a possibility in San Diego, with Rivers making some interesting statements on Tuesday to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Rivers is entering the last year of his six-year contract, and has proclaimed that he is not interested in signing an extension before the deal expires. If Rivers sticks to his guns, he will generate a massive market despite being 34 years old at the time of the 2016 offseason. Last week, Ben Roethlisberger agreed to a four-year, $87.4 million extension at the age of 33, giving Rivers an idea of what he could command.
The Chargers are in an interesting spot on a few fronts. Rivers has indicated that he does not want the team moving to Los Angeles, something that has been an option if the city of San Diego does not step up to replace Qualcomm Stadium. Another issue is whether or not the Chargers can retain Rivers without a bidding war. If Rivers is absolutely dead-set on hitting free agency, San Diego is likely to lose him. Does general manager Tom Telesco risk watching Rivers walk out the door for a compensatory third-round pick, or does he deal him for a boatload now and perhaps make a move for Marcus Mariota?
The Chargers are a good team, but are not expected to make a Super Bowl run. They have finished in third place in the AFC West the past two years under head coach Mike McCoy, and most prognosticators would likely have them in the same slot right now behind the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. If Telesco believes this could be another 9-7 or 10-6 team at best, maybe dealing Rivers for a pair of first-round picks is not the worst move.
Consider this: Telesco calls the Cleveland Browns and demands both first-round picks this year at 12th and 19th overall, along with a second-round pick next year. If the Browns agree, the Chargers would be punting on 2015 but own selections 12, 17 and 19 in the first round come April 30. With Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd free agents next year and on the wrong side of 30, it could be time to consider such a move.
Rivers is a borderline Hall of Fame candidate. Losing him would be rough on both the team and fans, but it could be the right move. Sometimes in sports, the tough call is the correct one. It will be interesting to see if Telesco decides to act before Rivers does.