San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is entering his eighth season as a starter and has three years left on his seven-year deal worth $98.25 million.
San Diego’s front office has failed to replace LaDainian Tomlinson the right way as the team’s average ranking is 22nd in yards per rushing attempt over the last three seasons. San Diego’s offensive line ranked fourth in sacks allowed last year, while the receivers ranked 22nd in receiving yards and 30th in yards per reception.
The front office signed former Philadelphia Eagles left tackle King Dunlap to protect Rivers’ blindside. San Diego also chose right tackle D.J. Fluker in round one of this year’s draft.
Rivers does not deserve a free pass for his play at times in 2011 because he was tied with Washington Redskins QB Rex Grossman for third in interceptions. Rivers has been turnover prone, but his QB rating ranked 11th last year despite horrific talent around him for the most part.
San Diego’s best receivers heading into this season were Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd. Alexander tore his ACL and will miss the entire 2013 season. This will be Alexander’s fifth knee surgery since January of 2010. Floyd played in all 16 games one time in his eight seasons.
There are high expectations for WR Vincent Brown, who will replace Alexander in the starting lineup, but Brown is unproven. He missed almost half of his team’s games in college with a thumb injury in 2009 and missed the entire 2012 season after breaking his ankle in a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Robert Meachem is one of San Diego’s few receivers with NFL experience that could get meaningful minutes, and has not had multiple seasons with injuries. However, Meachem is coming off his worst season as a pro when he set career lows with 207 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions.
San Diego has not made the playoffs since 2009, and finished with a losing record last year for the first time since 2003. If San Diego’s offense is as bad as last year when the team ranked 20th in points per game and 30th in yards per attempt, a change needs to happen.
If San Diego’s offense does not show signs of improvement, the team finishes with a losing record and no moves are made through free agency or trades, San Diego should think about trading Rivers.
Rivers’ salary cap hit is $15 million in 2014 and about $15.8 million in 2015. It makes little to no sense to pay Rivers this much money if San Diego goes into full rebuild mode.