Rumor Mill: Philip Rivers to San Francisco?

Nov 27, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) walks the sidelines while the Chargers play the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. San Diego Chargers won 21 to 13. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) walks the sidelines while the Chargers play the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. San Diego Chargers won 21 to 13. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

With all the current buzz surrounding the now Los Angeles Chargers, following the team has been torture the past week. However, an interesting rumor circulated the webs today, bringing up an old discussion fans should remember from 2014.

Allegedly, Chargers QB Philip Rivers isn’t taking too kindly to the L.A. move, and, unsurprisingly enough, a particular team is asking about his availability. The question is, should the Chargers pick up the phone? And if they do, how serious should these talks be?

All is not going well in Chargers kingdom. The fans are pissed (rightfully so), the team has won just nine games in two years (not good) and ownership is satisfied to backstab a loyal fan base of 56 years in order to fill their own pockets. And on top of all of this drama and heartbreak that has occurred over the last week, us Charger fans get this potential bombshell dropped on us:

Per source, #Chargers QB Phillip Rivers is not interested in a move to LA, and #49ers are interested suitors.

— David J. Barclay III (@DjamesIII) January 17, 2017

Are. You. Kidding. Me. I mean, come on football gods, give us a break. This is the last thing Chargers fans need to think about right now. Why would a middling organization move out to a new city/stadium/fan base knowing it would upset their most prized franchise cornerstone? The answer is… I don’t know. What I do know is that trading Rivers might not be the most terrible idea of all time, and before you curse me out in the comments for my gross negligence on the situation hear me out. If the Chargers were to trade Rivers, now is the time.

With the amount of young exuberant talent currently constructed on the roster, if the team were interested in a rebuild, not only would now be the time to act upon that feeling but I don’t think performing such an overhaul would exactly be such an overhaul anyways. Now listen close everybody, because I have something important to say–and this is my article you are reading after all:

I am a Philip Rivers homer. I love that man to death and I appreciate everything that he has done for this organization and for us fans as well. Having said this, and putting personal fandom aside, I am not opposed to trading Rivers if the price is right. It’s hard to determine someone’s trade value, but in my opinion, Rivers is worth enough to consider letting him go if the Chargers could collect some future assets.

In the case of teams such as the Redskins back in 2012 and the Rams in last year’s draft, teams have a tendency to trade an absurd amount of assets for an unproven QB. Enter Rivers, whose claim to the status of the upper tier of quarterbacks in this league is crossed out by his inevitable incline in age, making him, give or take a draft pick or so, worth of relatively similar value as said unproven quarterbacks.

Now by using this totally fraudulent and utterly inconsistent formula, I have concocted what I would approximate Rivers’ trade value as. For example, If I am on the phone with the 49ers, here is what keeps me on the line:

  1. 2017 first-round pick
  2. 2017 third-round pick
  3. 2018 first-round pick

Granted, this grabs my attention as an executive running a young football team with lots of intriguing pieces on both offense and defense. Now this isn’t to say that I’d take two firsts and a third-rounder for Rivers straight up; instead, this scenario is meant to exemplify what kind of benefits trading Rivers could bring to the Chargers.

For starters, having two top-10 picks would allow the Chargers to solidify their defense. Spending those picks on say, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and safety Malik Hooker would make for a young, balanced Chargers’ defense for years to come. Suddenly with offensive playmakers like Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen, the Chargers are an offensive line and quarterback away from theoretically contending for championships.

However, the underlying–and obvious–problem with trading a great quarterback is the fact that (you guessed it!!!!) you no longer have a good quarterback. I’ll admit, this is where my whole thesis here could fall flat on its face. Finding quality quarterbacks in the NFL these days are a rarity, and it just so happens to be that quality quarterbacks are required to succeed in the NFL. If you don’t believe me, look at the starting quarterback for every remaining team in the playoffs and tell me different. And with this year’s quarterback class rather uninspiring, I really can’t name a potential replacement for Rivers.

I suppose the risk you’d run in this scenario would be how long it could take to find/develop the team’s next franchise quarterback, and to be honest that process is rather randomized. You can either sputter endlessly like the Cleveland Browns or find yourself a Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson on Day 2 of the draft. There is no science behind the inconsistencies.

With all that said, Rivers does have a no-trade clause in his contract, and there are other reports saying he isn’t going anywhere.

One more time, Philip Rivers is not pushing a trade to 49ers. He has no-trade clause. He's fine with LA. From Philip.

— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) January 17, 2017

All in all, I believe the notion of trading Rivers is something that should be entertained once again at the very least. While the chances of such an event occurring remain rather slim, as the reporter who sent out the original rumor seems to be the sole media member advocating for its truth, I do think that it’s logical.

And while trading such an integral part of the team may seem dubious, such an event could end up benefiting the team down the line.