The Chargers may move on from Philip Rivers, but their AFC West rivals are an example of a quarterback situation that may give them pause.
The Chargers are more likely to draft a quarterback early this offseason than they have in over a decade, due in large part to egregious mistakes from Philip Rivers. Could they draft an heir in the first round of the 2020 draft? Absolutely, and there would be plenty of excitement heading into the new season.
But consider this for a moment.
There was plenty of optimism heading into the season: The line would improve, corner wouldn’t become a problem, the defense would get healthier, and Jerry Tillery would create the most dominant three-man pass-rushing group in the NFL. There was a good argument all of those would happen. But, as it is in any sport, not everything goes to plan.
And for an example of that, look no further than the Denver Broncos.
Since Peyton Manning left the organization, the Broncos have been in a frustrating quarterback situation. Now, not all of their quarterbacks have been first-round selections, which may be what Rivers’ successor ends up being. But they have spent quite a bit of time looking for their next franchise guy; here’s what they’ve done since 2015, the last year of Manning’s tenure:
- 2015: Trevor Siemian, seventh round
- 2016: Paxton Lynch, first round
- 2017: Chad Kelly, seventh round
- 2019: Drew Lock, second round
Do you know who started for the Broncos last week against the Vikings? That would be Brandon Allen, the team’s likely third option after Joe Flacco and Drew Lock.
Since Manning left, the Broncos are 23-36, never finishing better than third place in the AFC West. The defense, which during that time still featured Von Miller and a number of core members of their Super Bowl-winning squad, has been wasted.
Now the Chargers, whose defense is fifth-best in total yards allowed and only giving up 19.8 points per game, are sitting at 4-7. Though a change at quarterback in 2020 could potentially put the Chargers into contention immediately, it could also hinder the team for years to come, as it has for the Broncos. Tom Telesco, Anthony Lynn, and the entire organization need be sure of two things: That they are prepared to take the gamble their team could actually be worse off without No. 17, and that they know without a doubt who they are going to take should they move on.