The Chargers officially announced today they would be moving on from Philip Rivers. He will now be a free agent for the first time in his career. This story was initially published on December 29.
Philip Rivers has played his last game in a Chargers uniform. While he struggled this season on a disjointed offense, Rivers is just a year removed from an excellent season. In 2018 he completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 4,308 yards on 8.5 yards per attempt, with 32 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. In the right situation, he might be able to approach those numbers again.
Here are five potential destinations for Rivers as a free agent in 2020.
The Bears made a mistake trading up to select Mitchell Trubisky during the 2017 NFL Draft instead of taking Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes. Trubisky has been a disappointment ever since, despite flashes of potential. This season he's averaging a dismal 6.1 yards per attempt and has become Captain Checkdown.
If the Bears want to right that wrong, they can add Rivers to a roster that is ready to win now. The Bears entered Week 17 with the eighth-ranked defense. If they bring in Rivers and add some punch in the running game by focusing on offensive line in the 2020 draft, they could compete in the NFC North. With Trubisky, they're not going to do that.
Ryan Tannehill has been reborn in Tennessee this season, but he's also a free agent after this year and may wind up going elsewhere. If the Titans don't opt to franchise him, they could bring in Rivers and use the franchise tag on Derrick Henry instead.
The Titans need to improve their 22nd-ranked defense but they have a stellar running game (led by Henry) that averages 131.9 yards per game. Rivers joining a team with that running game and a receiving corps that has a young stud like A.J. Brown, and a few other solid targets, could be a great fit.
Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr is an average NFL quarterback and that's all he'll ever be. He has clearly frustrated Jon Gruden and there are rumors the Raiders are ready to move on. Philip Rivers is available and knows the AFC West well.
The Raiders have a lot of young pieces on defense, two first-round draft picks and a fantastic running game led by rookie Josh Jacobs. Rivers could be a good veteran option if they decide to dump Carr during the move to Las Vegas.
Cam Newton's time with the Carolina Panthers seems to be winding down and Kyle Allen isn't exactly lighting it up in Charlotte. Maybe Allen is the guy long-term but he doesn't appear ready yet. With change on the horizon in Carolina, it might be time to bring in a veteran quarterback to help the team's new, incoming regime with its transition.
The Panthers have one of the NFL's best players in running back Christian McCaffrey and a guy like Rivers would know how to use him. McCaffrey is versatile like LaDainian Tomlinson, a guy Rivers worked really well with for years. Meanwhile, D.J. Moore is an emerging talent at receiver and would give him a legitimate No. 1 receiver.
If Carolina's new regime employs an offense where he would fit, the Panthers could do a lot worse than bringing Rivers in.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston threw 30 interceptions this season in an offense designed to inflate a quarterback's mistakes and make things a whole lot easier for him to operate. The Buccaneers can't really be planning to being him back, right? If they don't Rivers could benefit from working in Bruce Arians' system.
The Buccaneers have a pair of outstanding receivers in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, and those guys need a quarterback who can cut down on throwing the ball to the other team. Rivers and Arians would be a great pair as well.