I guess the headline says all you need to know about today’s ‘what have you done for me lately?’ mentality among fans. While the change in power structure and coaching staff with the San Diego Chargers may have something to do with recent rumblings that quarterback Philip Rivers could be out of job soon with the Bolts, it doesn’t make the claims any less ludicrous. Although my own writings are guilty at times of wondering aloud just how long Rivers can last in San Diego surrounded by mediocre talent, that doesn’t mean it’s time to turn the page just yet.
There are still plenty of chapters left to be written in the novel that is Rivers’ NFL career. The gutsy effort that he put forth in the 2007 AFC Championship game in Foxboro against the then undefeated New England Patriots on a torn ACL is all but forgotten at this point. A steady decline in statistics since the 2010 season has put Rivers on notice according to some familiar with the organization.
Much of that may have more to do with his massive contract than anything else. It’s certainly hard to argue that he hasn’t at least underperformed his deal to this point, with his salary cap number at its highest point in the upcoming season at $17.11 million. Even though that is the case, Rivers’ bonus money will be all paid out by this time next year which means the team would take a minimal cap hit by turning the page at that point in time.
Perhaps the most telling indictment of Rivers came from U-T San Diego writer Kevin Acee who appeared on the NFL Network this week. According to Acee: “No one will say it, but I think that 2013 is the final audition of Philip Rivers.”
While that may be true, there aren’t even 32 quarterbacks of starting caliber in the league today. Why would an organization that has enjoyed success (albeit moderate) during the past decade move on from a signal caller that has a career 70-42 record in the regular season along with a 3-4 playoff record? When more than a half a dozen teams are frantically searching for the next ‘average’ quarterback on a yearly basis, how could the Chargers turn their back on a player that has compiled those kinds of numbers?
There are some that come down on the side of negativity toward Rivers while others will defend him to the death. Just like any other hot button topic, the idea of moving on from the veteran quarterback certainly qualifies. Will Rivers become the Dan Marino of his era and never get the ultimate prize or can he turn into the John Elway of the modern NFL and ride off into the sunset with a Lombardi or two? All that we can hope for at this point that that part of the narrative has yet to be written.