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Can Philip Rivers play past the 2019 season?

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 13: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers hugs Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots after the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 13: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers hugs Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots after the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers enters this offseason with one year left on his contract. Can the 37-year-old gunslinger hit the gridiron past the 2019 campaign?

If Rivers’ words hold true, he is staying under center for more than one season.

According to ProFootballTalk, the veteran Los Angeles Chargers quarterback was on the Hardwick and Richards show on XTRA 1360 San Diego Friday and said he and general manager Tom Telesco have not had discussions about his contract. Rivers enters the 2019 season with one year left on his deal.

However, the 37-year-old signal caller is confident he will keep playing after the 2019 campaign.

“I think when you get to this point –I’ve got a year left [on his deal] –I think it’s truly year-by-year is my mentality. I think I’ve got a handful left.” -Philip Rivers on Hardwick and Richards, (Via ProFootballTalk)

But given that he wrapped his 15th season in the NFL is closing in on 40 years old, can Rivers play the handful of years he believes he has left? Recent history may suggest that the Bolts’ longtime passer will take snaps for more than one year.

Consider the campaign he just had. The Alabama-born quarterback is fresh off an MVP-caliber season, which was one of the finest campaigns of his career. Rivers tossed 32 touchdown passes to just 12 interceptions and racked up 4,308 passing yards. His 105.5 passer rating was tied for a career high.

The offensive roster surrounding Rivers is beneficial for his potential longevity. L.A.’s attack includes a reliable and dynamic pass-catching group in wide receivers Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Tyrell Williams. The expected addition of tight end Hunter Henry to the lineup will provide Rivers with another consistent target.

Moreover, a solid rushing attack is a spectacular supporting tool for an aging quarterback, and the Chargers have that piece. Running back Melvin Gordon continues to prove himself as one of the league’s most dangerous rushers. Behind him is a strong duo of pace-changing tailbacks in Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson.

Boosting Rivers’ case to play longer than one more year is the fact that two of the NFL’s oldest quarterbacks succeded in 2018. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is 41-years-old and heading to his ninth Super Bowl appearance on February 3. The five-time Super Bowl champion recorded a 97.7 passer rating this regular season.

Although he fell short in the NFC Championship game, 40-year-old quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints was dominant this season. The 18-year veteran tossed 32 touchdowns to only five interceptions and recorded an NFL-best 115.7 passer rating.

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The current rules in the NFL are beneficial to quarterbacks, especially passers in Rivers’ age range. There are stricter guidelines in regards to defensive pass interference and roughing the passer, which can give a plethora of signal-callers a greater path to success. These rules are very advantageous for Rivers.

As long as the Chargers offensive line continues to improve, the Bolts’ longstanding passer should be able to play past his contract season in 2019. The current success of older quarterbacks and the Chargers talented roster sets Rivers up for at least two, maybe three more seasons of NFL action.

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