The San Diego Chargers and Philip Rivers might not be a hot item for much longer. There has been rampant speculation that this could be the last year of Rivers wearing the lightning bolt, fueled by the quarterback’s comments to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, stating that he has no intention of signing an extension before his contract expires after this season.
Rivers has expressed concerns about the Chargers potentially moving to Los Angeles, making it clear he does not envision himself playing in the City of Angels. Rivers, who will be 34 years old in December, is putting San Diego in a tough spot. The Chargers could allow Rivers to play out his contract and then slap him with the franchise tag, but that number would be close to $20 million for 2016 against the cap. San Diego could do it, but having an unhappy player who is also hindering the development of your team might be a bad idea.
The gunslinging quarterback is from Decatur, Ala., and went to college at North Carolina State. It stands to reason Rivers wouldn’t mind a trade to a southern team if he does not see the Chargers in his future, and the Tennessee Titans are the best fit.
Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt was San Diego’s offensive coordinator in 2013 and has a vacancy at quarterback. Even more importantly, Tennessee holds the No. 2 overall pick and could send the selection to the Chargers for Rivers, allowing them to take either a premiere pass-rusher or Marcus Mariota.
While Tennessee would be greatly improved in the short-term, it would be a terrible use of long-term judgement to make such a trade. The Titans are building a solid defense but are still a few years away from seriously competing for anything more than a fringe playoff spot, even with Rivers on the squad. Giving away the chance to draft an impact player over the next decade would be a colossal error with such a young roster in its infancy.
The temptation to acquire Rivers will be great for Tennessee, a team looking to make a splash and invigorate the fan base. It should stay the course and pass on Rivers, reminding itself on the long-term ramifications.