Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers On Colts, Future Plans

Philip Riversone-year deal with the Colts is, as previously reported, a $25MM pact. As Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets, that is a fully-guaranteed sum, with $12MM coming in the form of a signing bonus and $13MM coming in guaranteed salary.

We heard this offseason that Rivers was contemplating retirement, and he confirmed that was indeed the case, as Stephen Holder of The Athletic writes. The 38-year-old indicated that this offseason was the first time he considered hanging up the cleats, but his love for the game and his belief in his abilities to bounce back after a difficult 2019 campaign compelled him to come back.

“Certainly, (I’m) not coming off my best year, but a year where I still know I can play at a high level,” Rivers said. “I did it in spurts, just not consistent enough. And I love (football). It was one of those deals where we said, ‘If there’s nothing out there, then that’ll be our answer.’” 

But the Colts came calling, and as Holder writes, the team has no concerns about Rivers’ arm strength (though plenty around the league are understandably less certain about what the eight-time Pro Bowler has left). Head coach Frank Reich and OC Nick Sirianni, both of whom worked with Rivers as member of the Chargers’ staff, championed the signing and believe he will represent a significant upgrade over 2019 starter Jacoby Brissett.

For his part, Rivers was hoping that the Colts would reach out to him, as Mike Chappell of CBS 4 writes. “Truthfully was hoping it was going to be the Indianapolis Colts,” Rivers said. “From the standpoint of the locker room, the team and shoot, I failed to mention that offensive line. That’s a heckuva group.”

Indeed, Rivers will be protected by one of the best O-lines in the league, and he said the offensive scheme is essentially the same one he has played in since 2013. While the Colts do not have much proven pass-catching talent behind T.Y. Hilton — and there are no true difference-makers on the FA market at this point — Indy could find an immediate contributor or two in a draft that is deep at WR.

As for his future plans, Rivers, who previously indicated he wanted to play a maximum of two more years, confirmed that he wants to continue his playing career into 2021. Beyond that, though, it’s hard to say. “I’m not going to get carried away. I don’t think you’ll see me in the Tom Brady range,” Rivers said.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts To Sign Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers has agreed to a deal with the Colts on a deal that will pay him roughly $25MM per year, according to Judy Battista and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’ll be a one-year pact for the Colts and the longtime Bolts star, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) adds. 

[RELATED: Colts Trade For 49ers’ Buckner]

In February, the Chargers announced that they would not bring Rivers back for another season. Things had been trending in that direction for a while, despite all of the veteran’s accomplishments in San Diego and Los Angeles. He left the Chargers after setting more than 30 franchise records, making 224 consecutive starts, and earning eight Pro Bowl nominations.

Rivers, 38, isn’t coming off of his finest season, but the Colts believe that he’ll be a substantial upgrade over Jacoby Brissett. In 2019, Rivers was picked off 20 times against just 23 touchdowns. Historically, he’s been much much better in the TD/INT department. In 2018, for example, he threw for 32 TDs with 12 picks.

Even as he moves to a new part of the country, Rivers will be greeted by familiar faces. He has close ties to both Colts head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, both of whom are former Chargers assistants.

At $25MM per season, Rivers currently falls right around the middle of the pack in starting QB salary. He’ll likely tumble in the rankings by the end of the week, but he’s also earned lots of money over the course of his career. Besides, Rivers isn’t planning on playing until his late 40s like Tom Brady – this offseason, he indicated that he’d like to play for a couple more years. It’s possible he stays on the field for longer, but he did not go into free agency looking for a long committment.

Along the way, teams like the Buccaneers and Redskins have also been linked to Rivers, but the loudest rumblings have been coming from Indianapolis. Now, they’ve got him as their new quarterback with hopes of restoring the offense to its former glory.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts, Philip Rivers Discussing Deal

The Colts have resided as a Philip Rivers suitor for weeks, and in the first three hours of the tampering period, the sides are communicating.

Rivers and the Colts have begun discussions about a deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. While Rapoport cautions no deal is done, he adds that the 38-year-old quarterback is a “clear target” for the Colts.

Rivers has remained close to Colts HC Frank Reich and OC Nick Sirianni — both ex-Chargers assistants — and a report surfaced earlier this offseason about the quarterback and the team possessing mutual interest. Rivers has also been linked to the Buccaneers and Redskins.

Jim Irsay indicated in February that all quarterback options were in play for the Colts, who are in the market for a veteran starter for the first time since the mid-1990s. Rivers is interested in a two-year setup with a contending team, and with the Colts having voyaged to the 2018 divisional round with Andrew Luck, they qualify as a team he could assist.

 

Buccaneers “All In” On Tom Brady

The Buccaneers are “going all in” on legendary signal-caller Tom Brady, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Bay, of course, has been connected to Brady in recent rumors, but it was difficult to determine how serious the team’s interest was. Apparently, it’s very serious.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians has generally been non-committal towards incumbent passer Jameis Winston, who, like Brady, is eligible for free agency. Stroud says Arians wants to move on from Winston, and GM Jason Licht is willing to defer to his head coach.

Licht and Arians certainly have plenty to offer Brady. The club is among the league leaders in cap space and will have plenty of money to lure Brady to sunny, family-friendly Tampa while giving him a two- or three-year deal. The Bucs also have a dynamic pair of receivers and a talented (if uncertain) tight end, and they plan to add the type of pass-catching back that Brady covets. They also plan to draft an offensive tackle to shore up his protection, and Stroud says they will probably add a receiver from the immensely deep class of collegiate wideouts.

The Bucs will also allow Brady to take charge of the offense, and the fact that Florida has no state income tax will only help the team’s push. The defense also looks like a unit on the rise, so if you squint hard enough, you can see Tampa Bay as a contender with Brady under center.

If Brady chooses to sign elsewhere, Stroud says the Bucs’ fallback options are Teddy Bridgewater and Philip Rivers, in that order. Failing that, a reunion with Winston could still be in play, but that is sounding increasingly like a worst-case scenario for the Bucs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Teams Expecting Philip Rivers To Sign With Colts?

The Colts have been the team most closely connected to Philip Rivers this offseason. While others are linked to the eight-time Pro Bowler, the mutual interest between the Colts and Rivers has affected teams’ perception of this particular market.

Many with rival teams are expecting Rivers to sign with the Colts, according to Albert Breer of SI.com. Jim Irsay said recently all options were on the table for his team, which turned to Jacoby Brissett after Andrew Luck‘s retirement.

The Buccaneers and Redskins are also interested, likely the former more so than the latter, and a league source told CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora he expects Bruce Arians to persuade Rivers to sign with Tampa Bay. The 16-year veteran moved his family to north Florida this offseason.

While the Bucs boast the superior wide receiver tandem, the Colts have the better offensive line. And Rivers’ connections to Frank Reich and OC Nick Sirianni, both ex-Chargers assistants, will almost certainly impact the chase for the true free agent market’s second-highest-profile quarterback. Rivers remains close with both Colts staffers.

Rivers is targeting a two-year window to extend his career and wants to do so with a team in position to contend. Retirement, however, is not off the table. ESPN has entered the Rivers sweepstakes, showing interest in the 38-year-old quarterback as an analyst. Though, the network’s plans involve several moving parts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

ESPN Interested In Philip Rivers

With Tony Romo signing a monster extension to stay at CBS, ESPN is moving to other options for its latest attempt to change its Monday Night Football broadcast crew. This attempt may interfere with teams’ free agency plans.

In addition to attempting to lure Peyton Manning to the booth again, ESPN is interested in Philip Rivers, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.

It’s unclear if Rivers is a backup plan to Manning, whom networks have long coveted as an analyst. But Rivers, 38, has generated interest as a player — namely from the Colts and Buccaneers — and has said he would like to play at least two more years. However, Rivers is also reportedly still considering retirement. This would be an interesting landing spot for the 16-year veteran.

ESPN’s ideal scenario is a Manning-Al Michaels booth, per Marchand. After Romo signed for more than $18MM per year at CBS — doubling any previous NFL announcer’s salary — that would be an expensive proposition. Michaels remains under contract with NBC, where he’s been since 2006. Manning has turned the network down previously and has opted not to make a full-fledged foray into broadcasting since his March 2016 retirement. ESPN currently uses a Joe Tessitore-Booger McFarland team but is plotting a potential Michaels trade — an unusual transaction that could make an impact on the actual NFL offseason — to upgrade its booth.

Networks have coveted active players in recent years, and both Jason Witten and Jay Cutler retired to accept announcing positions. However, both returned to the field, Cutler doing so that same year after Ryan Tannehill‘s injury. Greg Olsen recently turned down a Fox offer to sign with the Seahawks.

Mutual interest is believed to exist between the Colts and Rivers, and the Bucs may have the longtime Charger passer ahead of Jameis Winston on their offseason wish list. The Redskins have also expressed interest. So, this has become quite the complicated offseason for Rivers, whose mic’d-up sessions have been known to feature entertaining dialogue.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mutual Interest Between Rivers, Colts?

The Colts have not entered free agency in the market for a veteran starting quarterback since the mid-1990s, but signs continue to point toward the franchise exploring a deal with one of this year’s biggest available names.

After a report surfaced indicating the Colts are interested in Philip Rivers, the quarterback may share that interest in signing up to play in Indianapolis. Rivers seemingly has interest in joining the Colts, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). However, other teams may interfere with this potential partnership.

Rivers worked with both Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni with the Chargers, and early indications make the Colts a frontrunner for the 38-year-old quarterback’s services. They are doing their homework on the eight-time Pro Bowler. But the Buccaneers are believed to have interest as well and may even prefer Rivers to Jameis Winston. And as strange as it sounds, given their depth chart and salary commitments at quarterback, the Redskins may join the Bucs and Colts as Rivers suitors.

The Colts and Buccaneers each possess immense cap space, with Indianapolis holding $86MM and Tampa Bay at $79MM. However, the Bucs have a far more crowded group of free agents — including Winston, Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh — than the Colts. Indianapolis also may be the better bet to be a 2020 playoff contender, given its 2018 divisional-round advancement and wealth of cap space, than a Bucs franchise that has not qualified for the postseason since 2007. The Bucs, though, boast one of the league’s best receiver tandems in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

Rivers made it clear he wants to sign with a potential contender and is eyeing a two-year window to extend his career outside of southern California. A market is taking shape.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Interested in Philip Rivers?

There’s been a lot of buzz about Philip Rivers and the Colts recently, and there have also been reports that the Buccaneers are interested in the impending free agent passer. While most of the talk surrounding where Rivers plays next has focused on those two teams, there’s at least one wild card option in the mix.

The Redskins are expected to “make a bid” for Rivers, sources at the combine told Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com. There has been some talk that Washington could be looking to upgrade at quarterback despite the presence of Dwayne Haskins, and we recently heard that they would host Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa on pre-draft visits. The Redskins hold the second overall pick in April’s draft. This latest report indicates they’re also interested in bringing in a veteran, although Pauline cautions there would be some financial hurdles.

The sources conceded that it would be tough for the Redskins to sign Rivers, since it “will likely take a massive contract.” It was unclear what Rivers’ market was going to look like, but it sounds like he’s going to be in high-demand. The 38-year-old had a down year this past season that was marred by turnovers, but in 2018 he was one of the best quarterbacks in the league and made the Pro Bowl. He’s averaged at least 7.8 yards per attempt in three straight seasons.

Rivers has been linked to the Colts in part because of his connections to head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, but he also has some connections to Washington’s new staff. New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera was an assistant with the Chargers for four years during Rivers’ time there, which could help explain this report. Although this seems like a bit of a long-shot Rivera has consistently insisted that nothing will be handed to Haskins, and it will be very interesting to see what if anything they do at quarterback this offseason.

Buccaneers Determining QB Path, Preparing To Tag Shaquil Barrett

The prospect of teams using both franchise and transition tags remains in play, though there is a better-than-average chance of the owners’ CBA proposal being ratified and preventing such a path. This would impact the Buccaneers considerably.

Having said for months they plan to keep Shaquil Barrett, the Bucs are preparing to use their franchise tag on the 2019 breakout pass rusher, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. Bruce Arians pointed to this path, unless an extension can be agreed upon, Greg Auman of The Athletic writes (subscription required).

Barrett registered a Bucs-record (by a considerable margin) 19.5 sacks last season, topping his total from four Broncos campaigns. Nevertheless, the 27-year-old sack artist — who is open to giving the Bucs a discount, based on Florida’s lack of a state income tax — will not hit the market. This complicates Jameis Winston‘s status, as he appears behind Barrett on the Bucs’ priority list.

Tampa Bay remains uncertain about its future at quarterback, but the team may well view Philip Rivers as an upgrade on the interception-prone passer. The Bucs are interested in the 16-year Charger/new Florida resident, with La Canfora adding execs around the league believe the team will get aggressive on Winston if a clear sense emerges that Rivers will not sign there. The Colts have surfaced as key players for Rivers, who worked with Frank Reich and Indianapolis OC Nick Sirianni with the Chargers. But Rivers would be an interesting fit for Arians’ deep-passing attack in Tampa as well.

If teams are permitted to use two tags (and not have one of them vacated by a new CBA passing), Winston appears a strong candidate to receive the transition tag. That price will come in north of $25MM, which is at least $2MM lower than the franchise tag value for QBs.

It could also be down to Rivers or Winston for the Bucs, whom Auman tabs as unlikely to draft a quarterback this year. Tampa Bay holds the No. 14 overall pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Did Not Meet With Tom Brady’s Camp?

One of the biggest rumors that dropped yesterday was that the Colts (along with the Chargers and Raiders) had met with Tom Brady‘s camp at the scouting combine. Because of another rumor that surfaced a few hours earlier suggesting that Brady is gearing up to leave New England, the Colts-Brady connection garnered plenty of buzz.

However, a league source told Stephen Holder of The Athletic that the Indianapolis portion of that report was “made up.” Per Holder, that does not necessarily mean that the Colts are not interested in the Patriots legend, but they have not yet spoken to his reps. Speculatively, given that Indy is so flush with cap space, it makes sense that all agents would want to publicly connect the Colts to their clients as much as possible.

Holder’s source did say that the Colts are vetting another presumptive Hall of Fame passer, Philip Rivers. We heard several days ago that Indianapolis is interested in the longtime Charger, and that appears to be true. As Holder observes, that vetting can take a number of forms, including gathering intel on Rivers from around the league. The Colts are also said to have an eye on Titans QB Marcus Mariota, though Holder’s report did not specifically mention him.

Obviously, if the Colts were to sign someone like Mariota, there would be an open competition for the starting job between him and incumbent Jacoby Brissett. If they signed a player like Brady or Rivers, Brissett would either become a highly-compensated backup or trade bait.

In any event, Holder confirms that all options are on the table when it comes to the Colts’ quarterback decision. They could continue to roll with Brissett, who was performing well in 2019 before being sidetracked by an injury, they could sign a vet, or they could draft a collegiate signal-caller.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.