One prominent NFL scribe has already offered his take on the Philip Rivers-to-Tennessee rumors this morning, and now Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk provides his opinion on the matter. Expanding on a piece he wrote earlier this month, Florio points out that all of the chatter surrounding the Chargers’ alleged desire to trade Rivers, whose contract expires at the end of the year, is largely just a “mating dance” between two parties who actually have mutual interest in extending their relationship beyond 2015.
For his part, Rivers knows that his value to the team–which is already quite high given his durability and the caliber of his play–could potentially increase dramatically should the team move to Los Angeles, as the Chargers will be hungry to make a good first impression in the nation’s No. 2 market. The Chargers know he is right, but that does not mean they want to pay Rivers any more than fair market value for a quarterback of his age and abilities.
Furthermore, outside of the Titans, no real suitors for Rivers have emerged over the past month or so. And there’s not much chance that one will. As Florio writes, if the Chargers were intent on trading up to the No. 2 overall selection, it would have happened by now. The fact that these rumors have been swirling for over a month without any substantial progress being made–like the parameters of a new contract between Rivers and the Titans–suggest that these rumblings are mostly predicated on contract leverage.
After all, it is hard to believe that the Chargers would want to start anew with an unproven rookie when Rivers may well have four or five good years left, and it is equally hard to believe that Rivers would want to go to a team that, even with him under center, would be unlikely to compete for a playoff spot. Any team trading for Rivers without a multi-year deal in place would be getting a one-year rental, and those teams that would want to make a deal for Rivers are generally not destinations that he would be willing to commit to long-term. So as the tango continues, it looks more and more like Rivers will be staying put; the only question is what it will cost the Chargers to keep him in San Diego (or LA).