Bolt Beat Monday Mailbag: The future of Philip Rivers

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Question 1: Both Brady & Brees have said they want to play until they are 45 yrs old. Philip Rivers, currently 36 yrs old, has emphatically said he will not play until he’s 45. He’s also playing on possibly the best Chargers team he’s had. That said, Rivers’ current contract takes him through the 2019 season & his 38th birthday. The Chargers move into the Inglewood Stadium in 2020. Do you think #17 would actually leave the Chargers the very year they finally get a full blown NFL stadium as home? If he signs a 4 yr deal in 2020 he’ll be 42 when it runs its course & he will have led the Chargers through the most consequential transitional period in franchise history. Will Rivers & the Chargers agree to one final 4 yr deal before his storied NFL career is over? -Jim

Philip Rivers becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2020, and could very well call it a career.

Here’s how I view it: like you said, this is possibly going to be the best Chargers team he’s ever been a part of. He might not have Ladainian Tomlinson or prime Antonio Gates, but he has exceptional weapons around him with a surging defense to back him up. However, and this is the biggest part, if the Chargers are not winning, regardless of how the team is built, I don’t think that’s enough incentive for Rivers to stick around. At 38, going toward 40 with 1.5 million children waiting at home, he may want to just coach his kids and watch them grow, as by then he’ll have gone through two more long seasons of commuting to Los Angeles.

But, there’s good news! Rivers is a competitor. If No. 17 could play every position, we would go 0-16, but he’d put his best effort into every snap. If he gets even a taste of the postseason, something along the lines of an AFC Championship birth, he’s going to keep fighting. The guy doesn’t play with a bulging disc in his back for the money; Rivers straps on his helmet because he wants to win. And that’s why I think the Chargers get him to sign a deal at least through the first two years in the Inglewood Stadium. Two years takes him through his 39th birthday. If I’m Rivers (and you as a speculating fan) here’s what I’m weighing:


  • Chance to cement legacy with a ring and/or multiple playoff births
  • Consecutive start streak
  • Passing records
  • Money
  • If the team is winning, it would be nice to stay


  • Commute (less family time, the drive, etc.)
  • If the team is losing, is it worth it?
  • Gates is likely retired, leaving him the last of the old guard
  • Possibly no true fan base

I’m sorry, Jim, that I can’t put up facts or projections backed by data for you, but at this point, it’s purely a guessing game for us and entirely up to him and the team. Thank you for your question, and I’m sure you and I will be able to know more down the line.