Rivers has been dependable since taking over because he started all 119 games from 2006-12 including a postseason game in which he played with a torn ACL against the New England Patriots. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is the only QB with a longer active streak than Rivers’ 119 consecutive starts.
According to Kevin Acee of utsandiego.com, “No one will say it, but I think 2013 is the final audition of Philip Rivers. The Chargers’ decision to not restructure Rivers’ contract speaks volumes.”
San Diego is about $7 million under the salary cap heading into this season and Rivers’ cap hit is $17.1 million. Rivers will have two years left on his deal after 2013 with cap hits of $15 million and $15.8 million.
Rivers did not have to take a pay cut in 2013 because San Diego was not mentioned as a possible destination for a top free agent the team needed like Wes Welker or Greg Jennings. Also, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said that management had no intentions of offering a big contract to a free agent during this offseason.
If San Diego’s front office trades Rivers after the 2013 season, this will more than likely be a move that causes the franchise to rebuild. There is a chance that San Diego could get a QB who would still make them competitive like Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons, but I doubt this will happen.
San Diego’s rushing attack ranked 31st in yards per attempt last season and last in touchdowns. The Chargers’ offensive line ranked fourth in sacks allowed while their receivers ranked 22nd in receiving yards and 30th in yards per reception, so losing Rivers for draft picks would be terrible.
Rivers combined for 47 turnovers over the last two seasons, but he ranked top 10 in touchdown passes and 11th in QB rating over the last two seasons as well. If San Diego’s front office trades Rivers, it could benefit him, but it would be bad for the team because there are no more than 10 QBs better than Rivers right now.