It was bound to happen at some point. As soon as the news came down that the San Diego Charges could possibly be moving we knew there would be rumors swirling about Philip Rivers. But the thing with Rivers is family. I was living in North Carolina when Rivers first started at NC State as a freshman. He graduated High School early just to get a head start on his college experience and that let me know the type of character he had.
Rivers has not changed since entering the NFL. When the Chargers were labeled as one of the best teams in the league, he was right in the forefront leading them to AFC Championships games and piling up stats that rival some of the game’s greats. But, the vibe has changed in San Diego with the losing. It’s gotten so bad that the team has agreed to move to Los Angeles. All Rivers has known throughout his career is San Diego and the one thing that has kept him there is his family.
But, there are reports that he’s not as happy as this new contract is letting on. He doesn’t wish to uproot his family and that’s the reason why he agreed to stay in the first place per reports but now, with the pending move to L.A. and the recent struggles, all bets may be off.
There are three teams that I can see making a push for Rivers. The Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Buffalo Bills. The Browns can offer the Chargers a wonderful package that includes possibly one of their first-rounders, a second and possibly Cody Kessler. The Jaguars can offer Blake Bortles and their fourth pick and the Bills can swing the 10th, second and first in 2018. But, will Rivers be willing to uproot his family for three teams that haven’t made the playoffs in some time?
The Jaguars had a down year. Plain and simple. They play in a weak division that if Rivers were to come into Jacksonville they could easily be the team to beat ahead of the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, and Tennessee Titans. They have the wide receivers to keep Rivers stats climbing and once their defense gets more time under their belts, the Jags will be contenders.
The Browns have possibly the most loyal fan base in the NFL. Despite not reaching the playoffs since 2002 they are still beloved. What the Browns can sell Rivers on is the loyal fans and a team that is on the upswing despite an embarrassing campaign in 2016. The ground game is solid with Isaiah Crowell and with WR Terrell Pryor looking to stay, he and Rivers could be a deadly force along with TE Gary Barnidge. The defense is solid but with Rivers in tow, free agents will come knocking. 1-15 may not seem that enticing to Rivers but injuries and inconsistent play at the QB position were the Browns downfall in 2016.
The Bills are the sleeper. Great running game with LeSean McCoy. A productive receiver in Sammy Watkins and a defense that has the talent to be disruptive but thanks to an offense that continued to stall all season may have seen more time on the field than their bodies could handle and became wore down. Rivers should love to be in a division that houses Ryan Tannehill and Tom Brady. To be able to play the New England Patriots twice a season is a challenge I could see Rivers accepting.
Rivers will enter the Hall of Fame one day but if he continues to stay with the Chargers, his induction speech will not read “a Super Bowl winner”. What makes each of these scenarios hard is the fact that Rivers holds a no-trade clause in his new contract. This is a right he has earned but if he’s offered a better chance than what the Chargers can give him then he may be willing to waive that.
Rivers may not be willing to move to Los Angeles, but if he can be swayed, he may think hard about a possible cross-country change.
Just a rumor and a thought, don’t get your feelings hurt.