Welcome to another day of NFL “silly season,” when the football world becomes inundated with numerous rumors both legit and insane.
Today, we dig into the curious case of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.
As everyone knows, Rivers’ time in San Diego appears to have an end in sight. With one more year on his current contract, Rivers has publically stated his wariness regarding the team’s rumored move to Los Angeles. As a result, rumors are flying fast about the Chargers looking to move him.
The popular gossip has the Chargers sending Rivers to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for their No. 2 overall pick, with which they could acquire quarterback Marcus Mariota. The former Oregon Duck recently spent a few days wining and dining with San Diego, so there’s certainly weight to this idea.
However, when discussing potential outcomes of the Rivers saga, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal brought up another possible destination: the Cleveland Browns. Rosenthal suggested this under the consideration that San Diego is looking for multiple draft picks in return for Rivers’ services.
“The Cleveland Browns would love this, but we just don’t see it as realistic,” said Rosenthal. “Quarterbacks are just too valuable to trade one away without getting one in return.”
Is it unrealistic, though?
Let’s get through the basics right off the bat. The Browns have question marks aplenty at quarterback. They’ve already taken a few ill-fated swings at trying to acquire Sam Bradford. San Diego’s franchise QB has little interest in committing to his team beyond his current contract. The Chargers want picks for Rivers. Cleveland has two first-rounders.
It’s a match, right?
Well, there are obviously a few reasons why Rosenthal and others can see this as an unlikely scenario.
First of all, as Rosenthal mentioned, it’s tough to deal a quarterback without getting one back. The Chargers can’t risk sending their franchise QB away without at least having a reliable option to work with afterwards. Sure, Cleveland could try to toss in Johnny Manziel if they’d like, but I doubt the Chargers see him as a solid replacement for Rivers.
Secondly, if Rivers is uninterested in sticking with the Chargers due to their possible move to Los Angeles, it’s tough to believe Cleveland would really appeal to him. It’d be even more difficult to see the idea of Rivers re-signing with the Browns at the end of his contract coming to fruition, something which likely would make a possible trade difficult to put together.
So, clearly, if there were any likelihood of these two teams getting a trade done, there are big hurdles to get over beforehand. For all we know, the time in which the Browns see their names attached to Rivers may last no longer than this small blip in Rosenthal’s column.
That said, why wouldn’t the Browns give it a shot?
If they were so persistent on trading for Bradford despite a) his reported lack of desire to join the team and b) a very alarming injury history, then why wouldn’t they at least call the Chargers to gauge their interest? Sure, it may result in San Diego hanging up early, but it’s still worth a try. A quarterback with at least three good years left in his career is reportedly available, a scenario that should obviously have Cleveland interested.
The Browns can also try to swing this deal pre-draft, that way if the Titans are still interested in trading out of the No. 2 pick, the Chargers have two first-rounders they could utilize in a possible trade-up scenario. It’s the same two picks many believe Cleveland may use to try and do the same thing.
At the end of the day, it certainly appears as though the chances are slim. The Browns have a lot of holes to fill, and utilizing both first round picks for Rivers may not sound appealing to them. This, along with the aforementioned look at San Diego’s perspective, does indeed make the possibility of these teams working a trade tough to fathom.
But, if the need to upgrade the position of quarterback is still on Cleveland’s to-do list – and it’s tough to believe it’s not – they need to kick the tires on a potential Rivers deal. One would think the idea of having Rivers starting the season opener instead of Josh McCown should have the Browns working on their sales pitch to San Diego on an hourly basis.