I never once believed the stories it would happen. Of course I have never understood why they haven’t taken care of him yet.
‘They’ are the San Diego Chargers. ‘He’ is quarterback Philip Rivers. ‘It’ is the flurry of trade rumors that the New York Jets or Tennessee Titans would trade their high first round pick for the Bolts quarterback, to give San Diego an opportunity to draft Oregon rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota.
The timeline is simple. It is March. Rivers is headed to the walk year of his big money contract. The franchise is threatening to move to LA. The team has not yet opened contract extension talks with him.
You could connect the dots, and say lame-duck quarterback, and yes lame-duck franchise. But it is way to early to even consider any of that.
History will show other great quarterbacks have left clubs. Peyton Manning, with a Super Bowl ring, left the Colts and wound up in Denver. Of course, John Elway spent his entire career wearing Orange and Blue.
But the Chargers have to be careful on this one, buyer beware. If you move Rivers in any type of deal, are getting equal value if you trade the quarterback and your 17th pick in the first round, to get to the 2nd spot Tennessee owns, to draft Mariota?
And buyer beware too of the learning curve-developmental process a Marcus Mariota would have to go thru once he steps off the plane and onto an NFL training camp field. Yes his (36-5) won-loss record at Oregon is superb. And so are those record setting 134-touchdowns he piled up in rewriting the Pac 12-record book.
But understand this. He has never taken a snap under center, instead running the warp-speed video game shotgun spread offense at Oregon. There is a learning curve here. Just ask the grizzled old journeyman veteran Michael Vick, or the trendy kid quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, Geno Smith or EJ Manuel. It takes time. Its takes getting sacked. It takes picks. It takes hits too.
Granted Rivers price tag on the next short deal he gets will be in the $18-20M a year range, but that is the going price for great quarterbacks, and he still is a great one. Granted he hasn’t done what his running mates have done, Roethlisberger, Brees, and Brady, win Super Bowl rings, but that is more on the GM’s office on the second floor at the Fortress than at the guy under center.
But Chargers fans, who always have an opinion, also tend to have short memories. Once Dan Fouts retired, San Diego signed on and went thru 17-quarterbacks before Stan Humphries arrived. And when he left with a career ending concussion, it took 17-more quarterbacks walking thru the revolving doors, till the Brees-Rivers combo arrived.
Nobody knows in the secretive world of Tom Telesco, why the team hasn’t gotten a new contract done, especially when they needed cap space to get free agents, who could have put them over the top. No extension, no restructuring, which could have been a step towards an extension.
Mariota may turn out great, but I also have flashbacks that the last phenom to come out of Oregon, was the flameout of Joey Harrington. Great stats, but a product of the system, not the product of great raw talent. Till Mariota shows he can do this, you always have doubts.
For every Andrew Luck, there is a Jake Locker. When you think of Eli Manning, don’t forget Vince Young or J’Marcus Russell. There is a Tony Romo, but there was also a Ryan Leaf.
Appreciate what you have, and make sure you Chargers fans never forget Billy Joe Tolliver, Mark Vlasic, Craig Whelihan, Bob Gagliano, Sean Salisbury, Tom Flick and David Archer. That’s what happens when a Fouts leaves, a Humphries gets hurt, or a Mariota type bombs.
Don’t buy the Bolts trade rumors. Don’t understand why Tom Telesco has not yet bought additional years with Rivers at quarterback. Chargers, don’t let this guy get away.