Like most San Diego Chargers fans, I have been extremely disappointed in the team.
The play of the team seems heartless, and what is even worse, they continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.
Tons of fingers are being pointed in the direction of head coach Mike McCoy and defensive coordinator John Pagano. It is easy to blame the coaches for a team’s failure, but are these complaints justified? Why does this team lack passion?
One of the teams most fiery players in now out for the year. Keenan Allen has heart, but his season is over and his contact with the team is sporadic at this point. He cannot be looked upon to lead the team. He has work to do to get his health back on track, mentoring a young locker room should not be his burden. His injury is just one of almost a dozen since training camp opened in July. Losing Allen, as well as Danny Woodhead, Manti Te’o, Jeff Cumberland, Donavan Clark, and Steven Johnson for the year is catastrophic. The team has done well to find suitable replacements, but the Chargers’ chemistry has undoubtedly been altered. That is not an excuse, it is a fact. Injuries are a part of life in the NFL, but the Chargers have been a constant victim of the cruel fate.
In an attempt to try to rectify the franchise, there have been recent discussions that the Chargers should move on from franchise quarterback Philip Rivers and trade him to a contender for draft picks. These rumors are not coming from the Chargers themselves, but they do make you think. Is trading arguably the franchise’s best quarterback an option? Would the Chargers actually consider this with all the negativity that surrounds the franchise?
Like most fans, my first thought about dealing Rivers was quite honestly…. WHAT? Don’t be ridiculous! Upon further analyzing the idea, I have softened on my immediate reaction, but I still lean towards the no way side of the fence. He means so much to the franchise. Call me a sentimental fool, but I prefer my sports athletes to remain with the team that drafted them for as long as possible. The sight of LaDainian Tomlinson in a Jets uniform turns my stomach to this day. And don’t get me started on Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau holding hands as their 16-0 New England Patriots battled the New York Giants in a Super Bowl. Yes, the Patriots lost that particular Super Bowl, but seeing former Charger greats on the big stage is a rough pill to swallow.
Quite frankly, I don’t know if I could handle Rivers hoisting a Lombardy Trophy for another team. Not that I wouldn’t want him to taste that sweet victory, but the pain of seeing another all-time great Chargers player succeed away from the franchise that drafted them would be horrifying, especially the face of the franchise and most recognized player. Philip Rivers is that. He is the Chargers.
Putting emotion aside (which is difficult for me), let us analyze the thought of dealing Rivers, and if it is even feasible for the team.
The Chargers recently signed Rivers to an $83.25 million dollar extension, in which $65 million is guaranteed. He has a huge salary cap number, and dealing him would be a difficult task to say the least. NFL contracts are not like MLB contracts. You cannot just move them at will. With salary cap restrictions, teams will need to be creative in acquiring Rivers from the Chargers. That is the first major hurdle.
Then comes compensation for him and what would be deemed fair? The Chargers would expect nothing less than a first and third round pick, and I’m not sure if that is even close to being enough for the services of the durable QB, especially if you think about what kind of team would want him immediately. Only a contending team would want a QB in the middle of the season. So with that being said, the Chargers potential first round pick for trading him would be a mid to late pick. Trading him for a top-3 pick is one thing, but to acquire a team’s first round pick that could be anywhere from #20-#30 would be counter-productive. It doesn’t add up at this point. It just will not work, even if a potential trade partner threw multiple picks at the Chargers.
Even with all the picks in the world, the Chargers have NO young option at the quarterback position. There is no young phenom on the bench learning from Rivers. There are no for-sure, franchise QB’s in the upcoming draft. Dealing Rivers at this point would set the franchise back 2-3 years minimally. I realize Rivers is old, but the surrounding team is not all the ancient.
With the exception of Antonio Gates and most of the offensive line, the unit has some very young weapons. Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, Max Tuerk, Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry are some decent young core players on offense. The O-line has age issues, but Rivers deserves a veteran line to protect him on game day. The defense is even younger, with multiple starters in the early 20’s. The point is, the Chargers are not an old team. They are not a team rebuilding. At least not extensively. They are built to win now. Despite their record and play, this team needs to win now.
The Chargers could be 4-0 with a little luck, heart, desire, better coaching… whatever you want to call it. The reality is, this team has played really well (from time to time) despite all the injury issues. Talk of dealing Rivers for draft picks is way, way too premature. If this team continues to falter and the team can acquire/draft a young QB in the next year or so, then perhaps there might be thoughts of going down that road. For the time being, Philip Rivers can be comfortable in his Rancho Sante Fe home. He is not going anywhere. Not any time soon.