Philip Rivers

Buccaneers Potential Landing Spot For Philip Rivers?

Yesterday we heard word that Philip Rivers was moving his family from the San Diego area to Florida, another indication he’s headed for a split with the Chargers. Rivers has said he isn’t retiring, so he’ll be suiting up somewhere next season even if he isn’t in Los Angeles. 

There has been some speculation that Rivers could end up with the Colts, as he used to play under Indy head coach Frank Reich with the Chargers. There are a number of teams that could be interested in a veteran quarterback this offseason though, including the Buccaneers if they opt not to retain Jameis Winston. To that end, Jason La Canfora tweets that he’s “hearing a lot of buzz” about Tampa as a potential landing spot for Rivers.

La Canfora was one of the first to report back in November that a divorce from the Chargers might be in the cards. If Rivers does end up signing with the Bucs, he’ll be paired with the most accomplished offensive coach of his career in Bruce Arians. When Arians was with the Cardinals he brought in an aging Carson Palmer and rejuvenated his career, so there’s an obvious parallel there.

Rivers had a down 2019 due to a lot of turnovers, but the Chargers’ passing game was still very efficient yardage-wise, and in 2018 he was one of the best passers in the league. He led the Chargers to a 12-4 record that year while tossing 32 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions, averaging a robust 8.5 yards per attempt. Of course, all of this is predicated on the Bucs moving on from Winston, which is still very much up in the air.

It’s been hard to get a read on how they feel about Winston, and the last we heard was that members of the front office were split on bringing him back and that there hadn’t been any contract discussions between the two sides. With all of the high-profile signal-callers set to become free agents, this is shaping up to be the most interesting quarterback carousel in years.

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Chargers’ Philip Rivers Moves To Florida

Chargers star quarterback Philip Rivers has moved “permanently” from San Diego to Florida, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com hear. It’s yet another signal that the Bolts and their longtime QB could be moving in separate directions this offseason.

What this means football-wise is to be determined but it was time for us to move back closer to home,” Rivers said in a text message.

After the Chargers’ season finale, Rivers confirmed that he wants to continue playing. The 38-year-old also acknowledged that he might have played his final game with the only franchise he’s ever known.

The Chargers could slide Tyrod Taylor into the starting quarterback role and put their cap dollars elsewhere. Meanwhile, Rivers could join an intriguing QB free agent crop alongside Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ryan Tannehill, Teddy Bridgewater, Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota.

Rivers threw for 4,615 yards in 2019 with just 23 touchdowns, his lowest total since 2007. Meanwhile, he threw 20 interceptions as the Chargers went 5-11.

Over the years, Rivers has tallied eight Pro Bowl selections and nearly 400 touchdowns through the air.

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QB Notes: Rivers, Tannehill, Jags, Winston

Philip Rivers‘ disappointing season has led to speculation the Chargers will seek an upgrade in free agency or the draft. But GM Tom Telesco said (via Daniel Popper of The Athletic, on Twitter) this week he still believes the 38-year-old quarterback can compete at a “top-starter level.” Rivers has bounced back from down seasons before, even winning 2013’s comeback player of the year award after merely coming back from a rough 2012 slate. But the free agent-to-be is much closer to the end of his career and has acknowledged Week 17 may have been his final Bolts game. The Chargers aim to get the Rivers situation sorted out before the 2020 league year begins March 18, Telesco adds (Twitter link). Tyrod Taylor is still under contract, and while Telesco called the ex-Bills starter a capable first-stringer (Twitter link via ESPN’s Eric Williams), promoting the 30-year-old veteran would not be viewed as an upgrade.

Here is the latest from the quarterback landscape:

  • A franchise tag may be in the cards for Ryan Tannehill, but the Titans are convinced his change-of-scenery breakout is legit. The Titans believe the 31-year-old passer is a “huge part of their future” and want to sign him to a long-term extension, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). The prospect of a Tannehill re-up initially surfaced in late November, and the sides have begun negotiations. It would cost Tennessee approximately $27MM to use its franchise tag on Tannehill. With Derrick Henry and right tackle Jack Conklin also up for free agency, it would behoove the Titans to have Tannehill locked down before the March 10 deadline. Of course, Tannehill’s Dolphins history makes such a commitment risky.
  • The Jaguars will not commit to Gardner Minshew as their clear-cut starter going into the offseason. Doug Marrone said Minshew and Nick Foles will compete for the job, per John Reid of the Florida Times-Union. The Jags gave Foles $50MM guaranteed in 2018; his 2020 salary is fully guaranteed.
  • Jameis Winston may have been playing through a more significant thumb injury than initially believed. The Buccaneers quarterback is now wearing a cast, per Rapoport (on Twitter). Winston threw his usual variety of interceptions before the thumb injury surfaced but tossed four in Week 16 against the Texans after being on the Bucs’ injury report with the malady. The soon-to-be 26-year-old passer will be a free agent in March.

Chargers Could Bench Philip Rivers

The 4-7 Chargers likely have to win out in order to have a shot at the playoffs, and for the first time since quarterback Philip Rivers entered the league in 2004, Rivers may not give the Bolts the best chance to win. As such, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears that Rivers could be pulled from Sunday’s game against the Broncos if he continues to struggle.

Rapoport says that head coach Anthony Lynn will not have a quick hook, but if Rivers performs as badly on Sunday as he has over the past two weeks — he has thrown a whopping seven interceptions and has fumbled twice during LA’s two-game skid — Lynn could yank Rivers in favor of veteran backup Tyrod Taylor.

It’s a move that Lynn obviously does not want to make, but he may not have a choice. Rivers, who will turn 38 next week, has struggled with interceptions a bit throughout his career, but he is currently not doing enough to offset those turnovers. Rivers and Lynn have spoken several times since the team’s crushing loss to the Chiefs in Week 11, and Rivers knows he must play better.

On the other hand, Lynn does not want the eight-time Pro Bowler looking over his shoulder and playing without the same carefree style that has made him so successful in the past. With respect to pulling Rivers, Lynn said, “I don’t plan on having to make that decision…Most great athletes, they respond well. I believe Philip is going to respond well.”

Taylor, a three-year starter for the Bills from 2015-17, has shown the ability to take care of the football, and he can also make plays with his legs, which Rivers cannot do. Taylor signed a two-year, $11MM pact with the Chargers in March, so if Los Angeles should decide to move on from Rivers this offseason — which is looking increasing likely – Taylor may have a shot to serve as the team’s starter in 2020.

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La Canfora’s Latest: Rivers, Garrett, Smith

CBS Sports scribe Jason La Canfora published his usual Sunday slate of items from around the league, including reports on the future of Panthers HC Ron Rivera in Carolina and the Titanspotential desire to re-sign QB Ryan Tannehill. Let’s take a look at a few more notes from JLC:

  • Chargers QB Philip Rivers is eligible for free agency at season’s end, and in light of his struggles in 2019, there has already been plenty of speculation about his future with the Bolts. La Canfora says the team is currently not planning on having any extension talks with Rivers’ camp, and for his part, Rivers has shown no desire in promoting the team’s move to Los Angeles (he still lives in San Diego and spends up to four hours a day commuting to and from the Chargers’ facility). La Canfora suggests that the Chargers, who may not be picking high enough in the 2020 draft to land a top collegiate passer, could move on from Rivers but may pursue a veteran signal-caller like Cam Newton.
  • La Canfora details all of the steps the league took to investigate Browns‘ DE Myles Garrett‘s claim that Steelers QB Mason Rudolph used a racial slur in the lead-up to the now infamous brawl between the two clubs, and the NFL did not find a shred of corroborating evidence. The good news for Cleveland is that the league currently has no intention of extending Garrett’s suspension into the 2020 season. Garrett will be required to schedule a meeting with the league and the union to have a “check-in” of sorts, but assuming that goes well, he should be reinstated without incident.
  • Former Texans GM Rick Smith left the team after the 2017 season when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, but he is open to returning to the league in 2020 should the right opportunity emerge. He is apparently ready and able to assume all duties that go along with running a franchise, and since there may be fewer elite GM candidates in 2020 than in years past, Smith could be appealing to a number of clubs. Although Houston is currently without a GM, La Canfora says a reunion between the two sides is not in the cards.

Philip Rivers Wants To Play For Titans?

Longtime Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers may want to play for another franchise next season, according to a report by Matt Miller of Bleacher Report. Per Miller’s report, league circlles are hearing that Rivers, who is set for free agency this offseason, would “love” to join the Titans.

Rivers, who will turn 38 in December, is amidst his 16th NFL season. He has spent his entire career with the Chargers organization since he was traded from the Giants for Eli Manning on the day of the 2004 NFL Draft. However, Los Angeles may be looking at going in another direction at quarterback.

It remains unclear what in particular about Tennessee appeals to Rivers, although it’s worth noting he is from the south. But, the Titans definitely appear like they will be in the market for a new quarterback this offseason given the status of both Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill remain up in the air.

Still, unless Rivers is willing to accept a backup role, there is no guarantee that the Titans would be willing to guarantee him a starting job. While Rivers has had an illustrious career, his age alongside particularly poor performance this season (15/14 touchdown to interception ratio) may make teams tentative to hand over the reigns.

With plenty of season left to be played, a lot remains unknown about the upcoming quarterback market, but it seems clear that the league is going to see an abnormally high amount of movement at the quarterback position. At least according to Matt Miller, Rivers is preparing for that possibility.

League Notes: Burfict, Goodell, Kearse, Rivers

In an exclusive interview with Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required), controversial Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict laid into the league and did not seem to leave any thought unspoken. Burfict, who is currently serving a suspension that began after Week 4 and spans to the end of the season, was adamant that his behavior does not compare to Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who was recently suspended indefinitely after swinging a helmet at Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Burfict also detailed the suspension process, including the appeal meeting he had with league executives. The former Bengals linebacker claims the league had already decided on the suspension prior to the meeting and had no interest in hearing his side of the story. On top of some colorful language used at the expense of multiple execs, the piece offers an interesting view into Burfict’s place in the Raiders locker room.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Vikings safety Jayron Kearse may not be in Minnesota for much longer given the tone of his tweets today. This morning Kearse tweeted out that he was “excited” for his future, but when a fan replied asking if the Vikings will be a part of his future, Kearse replied “No.” Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press noted the back and fourth and added that Kearse did not answer him on Friday when Tomasson asked if he would start in tomorrow’s game against the Broncos given Anthony Harris‘ injury. Tomasson speculates that Andrew Sendejo could instead be the starting safety.
  • Longtime Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers‘ contract expires at the end of this season and set to turn 38 in December, it would not be a shock for the veteran to declare this his last professional season. However, Rivers remains noncommittal on his future, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN. Rivers still has a desire to play in the Chargers new stadium when it opens in 2020, but wants to take some time after the season ends to evaluate where he is physically and mentally before making any final determination.

AFC West Notes: Bolts, Gates, Rivers, Chiefs

Despite losing Hunter Henry to yet another serious injury, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn did not seem optimistic on a potential reunion with Antonio Gates, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN. “I have not been in contact with Antonio,” Lynn said. “I’m not sure what his situation is.”

After Henry’s injury last year, Gates was brought back to the only organization he’s ever known, serving mostly in a backup role. Appearing in all 16 games for the Chargers, Gates totaled 28 receptions for 333 yards, with only two touchdowns.

In the interim, the Chargers seem content with expanding the roles of tight ends Virgil Green and Sean Culkin while Henry recovers from his injury. Green is coming off a lackluster 2018 campaign, where he hauled in 19 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown, while appearing in all 16 games for the Chargers. Despite this, he is expected to start, with Culkin serving in a back up role.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • For the second straight day, wide receiver Mike Williams was absent from Chargers practice, and is not looking good for Sunday’s game against the Lions, according to Eric D. Williams. Lynn has been concerned about the knee of Mike Williams, and another missed practice tomorrow would not bode well for his chances of suiting up this weekend.
  • On the most recent edition of the RapSheet + Friends Podcast, quarterback Philip Rivers spoke with NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport about a number of topics, including his current contract. “I really just feel at peace about that. Tom [Telesco] and I had really good conversations throughout the last couple months. I think it’s sincere, the both of us, really desire I’m still a Charger in 2020,” Rivers told Rapoport. “I think that sincerity will make it all work out. Had it worked out before the regular season got started, I’d have been fine with it, but it didn’t. Shoot, hey let’s just wait and it kinda worked best for both sides to do that. I really feel good about it. I’m in a good place.” Rivers is in the final year of a four-year, $83.25 million contract extension he signed in August 2015.
  • In an effort to create cap space, Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher‘s contract was restructured, which included the conversion of his $9.54MM base salary to a fully guaranteed roster bonus that will be prorated from 2019 to 2021, dropping his 2019 cap hit to about $6.4MM, according to Yahoo Sports’ Terez A. Paylor. Paylor also reports that linebacker Anthony Hitchens‘ restructure, which included the conversion of $5.6MM of his base salary to a fully guaranteed roster bonus that will also be prorated from 2019 to 2022, created roughly $4.2MM in cap room.

Chargers Slash Roster To 53

In addition to the Chargers’ Russell Okung announcement, they finalized their 53-man roster.

Cardale Jones did not make the team, with Los Angeles going with Tyrod Taylor and rookie Easton Stick behind Philip Rivers. The XFL has openly mentioned Jones on multiple occasions, so the former Bills and Ohio State passer could be a high-profile candidate for the upstart league.

Here are the Bolts’ Saturday cuts:

No Extension For Chargers’ Philip Rivers?

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will likely play out the final year of his contract, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears. Both sides are “in agreement” that Rivers will probably wind up playing out his deal and addressing his status after the 2019 season, when his deal expires. 

Rivers, who will turn 38 this year, has started in every game for the Bolts since 2006. Currently, he’s scheduled to earn $16MM in the final year of his four-year, $83.25MM extension. That was a significant deal at the time of signing, but the market has advanced significantly for QBs.

Meanwhile, the Bolts are without a true Plan B. The Chargers have looked into taking a QB high in the draft for years, but they have not selected a signal caller in the top three rounds since 2006.

There’s no reason for the Chargers to sweat it, at least, not yet. The Patriots and star Tom Brady are in a similar boat, with the superstar set for free agency after the ’19 season thanks to two void years in his newly-revised deal.

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