Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is having, at age 36 (37 in less than two weeks), a career year. He has completed 67% of his passes for 2,860 yards and 23 touchdowns against just six interceptions, good for a 112.1 quarterback rating — which would be the highest of his career — and he is on the fringe of the MVP conversation. More importantly, his team sits at 7-3 and is in full control of its playoff destiny.
However, his contract expires at the end of the 2019 season, and between that and his advanced age, there are plenty of questions about his future with the club. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says the Chargers want Rivers to be their starting quarterback “for as long as he wants to do it” (video link). RapSheet notes that Rivers, who is owed just $11MM in base salary in 2019, is also due a $5MM roster bonus near the start of the 2019 league year in March, which Los Angeles is expected to pick up. The team will therefore be paying him $16MM next season unless they reach an extension before then, which is a bargain for a quarterback of his caliber.
Rapoport also suggests that Rivers wants to be the Bolts’ QB at least until the team moves into its new stadium, but the stadium will open in 2020, so that does not do much to clarify Rivers’ long-term future. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, it makes sense for player and team to have a frank, candid discussion about how long Rivers wants to play. The 2004 first-round pick has said that he would like to play for a few more seasons, but it is unclear exactly what that means, and the Chargers will need to know that before they go ahead and agree to pay Rivers a boatload of guaranteed money.
Rapoport says that the Chargers are willing to draft a quarterback and allow him to sit behind Rivers for several seasons, and depending on what Rivers tells them about his plans, that could happen as soon as 2019. Indeed, the Chargers were rumored as a potential fit for Baker Mayfield prior to the 2018 draft.
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