The Indianapolis Colts are giving Philip Rivers a one-year deal worth around $25 million to see just how much he has left in the tank. It is a win-win deal for both sides and could emerge as the crown jewel of an already wild quarterback carousel spin.
Rivers is 38 years-old and is coming off the worst season of his 16-year NFL career. His arm strength looked shaky and he largely under-utilized a decent supporting cast of skill position players. The Los Angeles Chargers stumbled to a 5-11 record and failed to show up in big moments. Part of that is surely on the veteran quarterback.
But there's a hell of a lot to say about new beginnings. Rivers getting out of the wasteland of football-indifferent L.A. and into the football-hungry heartland. The change of scenery will do him well and early indications are that the fiery competitor is all rarin' and ready to go.
The Colts have pieces. Rivers inherits a formidable offensive line and will stand alongside a stout defense. The division-winning Texans have made themselves worse and the Titans could be a flash in the pan if Ryan Tannehill can't replicate his small-sample success.
Playing for the Chargers is all Rivers has ever known. The past few years have been no picnic. The on-field product hasn't been great and moving cities was emotionally draining with little payoff. Say what you want about Indianapolis, but it's a place with reverence and passion for premier quarterbacks. If Rivers can play like a reasonable facsimile of his former self, he'll be accepted with open arms and the Colts will be in postseason contention.
If he doesn't, Indianapolis will have only taken a swing and a miss. Jacoby Brissett was not the long-term answer under center. Investing only one year in Rivers will allow them to cut bait if the experiment doesn't work.
It feels like more could go right for all parties than could go wrong. And failure wouldn't be a total disaster for the Colts and would prove to Rivers that his time as a viable signal-caller.
Put me down for some cautious optimism.