The Chargers and quarterback Philip Rivers have agreed to a four-year extension, the club announced (via Twitter). Rivers, who was set to enter the final year of his contract, is now locked up through the 2019 season. The deal is worth $84MM, with $65MM guaranteed, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
This new deal brings to end months of speculation about the future of the relationship between Rivers and the Chargers, which was rumored to on its last legs throughout the spring. Reports had indicated that Rivers had no interest in negotiating an extension with the club potentially weighing a move to Los Angeles, and the Chargers reportedly dangled him in trade talks in an effort to move up to the second overall pick in the draft. As recently as April 20, Rivers declined to engage in extension negotiations, but less than two weeks later the team told Rivers that he would not be dealt.
Despite reports of an August 13 deadline for talks to conclude, Rivers yesterday downplayed the notion that a deal was no longer on the table. San Diego obviously had incentive to get something done, as well, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported on Wednesday that the club would use the franchise tag on Rivers in both 2016 and 2017, if need be.
The 33-year-old Rivers has spent the entirety of his 11-year career with the Chargers, passing for more than 35,000 yards and 250 touchdowns during that time. The five-time Pro Bowler has experienced something of a late-career renaissance under the leadership of Mike McCoy, as Rivers has completed 68% of his passes during the past two seasons, averaging more than 4,300 yards and 32 touchdowns during that span. Rivers has made the postseason five times, most recently in 2013, advancing to the AFC Championship Game in 2007.
While the reported guarantees likely aren’t full guarantees — $65MM would be the highest guaranteed figure among quarterbacks by $11MM — Rivers’ new $21MM annual salary would place him fourth among QBs, trailing only Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Ben Roethlisberger. Rivers’ deal looks eerily similar to that of Roethlisberger, who signed a four-year deal worth $87.4MM ($34.25MM guaranteed) earlier this year. The other notable member of that 2004 draft class, Eli Manning, is still waiting on an extension with the Giants.
Working out an extension with Rivers puts a bow on an active Chargers offseason that not only saw the club bring in new weapons for Rivers in the forms of Stevie Johnson and Melvin Gordon, but fortify the offensive line with by re-signing King Dunlap and adding free agent additions Orlando Franklin and Joe Barksdale.