Oct 19, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) yells down the line in front of running back Branden Oliver (43) during the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Philip Rivers just turned 33 years old and is entering into the last year of his big contract he signed in 2009. He may still have a few great years left in him, and maybe not. He is coming off his 6th 4,000+ passing yard season of his career, and his second straight. He also reached the 30 passing touchdown plateau for the 4th time in his 11th year with the Chargers. Tom Telesco has indicated that the club wants him to retire as a Charger. We have seen quarterbacks throughout the years battle Father Time and play at a high level well into their 30’s. Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Brett Favre are all good examples of QB’s performing well even after they are 35+.
That being said, eventually the Chargers will be forced to look for Rivers’ heir-apparent. Now this begs the question, where is his replacement now? Already in the NFL? Entering the Draft? Still playing in college? Just barely being recruited out of high school? Who knows. Now, I am not trying to shove Rivers out the door. I am banking on a few more 4,000+ yard years if possible. However, seeing the success of Aaron Rodgers makes me think his development should be a model for the future. He wasn’t drafted and then thrown right into the fire to be set up to fail. He sat for a few years and watched Brett Favre and learned from the future Hall of Famer. Now it has paid off. Shouldn’t the Bolts acquire a QB to develop while Rivers is still playing at a high level and able to teach him?
Should the Chargers draft a QB? Some names that come to mind as possibilities are Brett Hundley, Bryce Petty or Sean Mannion (quite frankly, the 2015 QB class is a bit shallow after Winston and Mariota). Or should the Chargers look to acquire someone already in the NFL to develop, like Kirk Cousins, Mike Glennon or Brock Osweiler? The thought is interesting. Again, I don’t want to rush Rivers out of San Diego or into retirement, but the Chargers do need to think long-term when considering extending his contract to put him into his mid to late 30’s. He is also 2 solid seasons away from passing Dan Fouts for the Chargers franchise leader in passing yards. I want to see him break that. I truly hope finding Rivers’ replacement doesn’t become a reality for a few more years, because I love his intensity, spirit and morals. I wouldn’t have anyone else lead the San Diego Chargers in 2015.