San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has been on a roller coaster ride throughout his entire NFL career, and it doesn’t project to slow down anytime soon.
Many people forget that Rivers was selected by the New York Giants in the 2004 NFL Draft and ultimately traded to San Diego for Eli Manning, who was drafted No. 1 overall by the Chargers and refused to play for the franchise.
Rivers spent his first two seasons with the Chargers holding a clipboard for future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. When the New Orleans Saints signed Brees in March of 2006, it was clear that Philip would finally get his opportunity.
And he never looked back.
Due to the fact that Rivers plays on the West Coast for a team that many NFL fans simply don’t see much of, he’s been ridiculously underrated through the years.
But the number don’t lie. According to Pro Football Reference, Rivers has completed 64.9 percent of his career passes, and has thrown for a remarkable 42,557 passing yards and 288 TDs in 165 starts.
Philip’s record as a starting quarterback in the regular season is an impressive 93-71. However, in playoff games, he’s only 4-5. The truth is, aside from the 2007-08 season in which San Diego made it all the way to the AFC Championship game and lost to the New England Patriots, Rivers never had the luxury of playing with a Super Bowl caliber supporting cast.
Sure, LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates are future Hall of Famers. But aside from Vincent Jackson and more recently Keenan Allen, the Chargers have failed to give Philip adequate wide receivers in the pass attack.
In fairness, San Diego’s dealt with a plethora of bad luck throughout the years. And 2016 has been no exception to this unfortunate trend, as the Chargers have already lost WR Keenan Allen, RB Danny Woodhead, LB Manti Te’o, and CB Jason Verrett for the season, and we are only one quarter of the way through.
Even prior to these devastating injuries, however, it was clear that the Chargers were unlikely to be a playoff team this season in an AFC West with the up and coming Oakland Raiders, solid Kansas City Chiefs, and defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos.
Thus, expecting anything but disappointment from this team going forward would be foolish, and everyone knows this is true, including the aforementioned LaDainian Tomlinson.
Tomlinson, now an analyst for the NFL Network, recently opined that the Chargers should finally bite the bullet and trade their longtime gunslinger as they continue to go through a grueling rebuild.
“Let’s just call it what it is,” Tomlinson said. “The Chargers are rebuilding right now, OK? They’re rebuilding, guys. And Philip only has about three or four years left. If you keep him there during this rebuilding process, you just wasted his entire career. He will have no chance to win.
“So the best thing to do, possibly, is trade him. Get something for him right now. Trade him to a contender and let this man get a chance to win a championship. That way you still get something for him.”
It’s hard to argue with LaDainian at this point. The Chargers never seem to go all out in free agency, and would need to hit home runs in multiple consecutive drafts in order to get this franchise to the point where it could compete for a championship.
And at 34 years old, the clock is ticking for Rivers to finally win that elusive Super Bowl ring he’s always dreamed of.
In the past, Rivers has expressed zero desire to play for another organization, and is said to detest the idea of moving his large family out of the San Diego area. However, even an eternal optimist would be able to see the writing on the wall if they were in Philip’s shoes.
Rivers has made plenty of money and received many accolades, but he still hasn’t hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.
We are just about a month away from the 2016 trade deadline. A team like the New York Jets, who are desperate for an answer at quarterback, could make plenty of sense for Philip.
Let’s be honest: LaDainian Tomlinson is right. Whether it’s over the next four weeks or sometime before the 2017 NFL season, the Chargers must move their beloved quarterback and begin to look for their next long-term option at the position.
[Featured Image by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images]