The Chargers are officially moving on from Philip Rivers. Earlier today, The Big Lead listed the best landing spots for Rivers' future. Reverse it, and here is a ranking of the five best options at quarterback for the Chargers post-Rivers this offseason:
1. Tom Brady
Turning the year-long fantasy rumor into reality is priority No. 1 for the Chargers this offseason. Tom Brady is well past his prime and is a two-year option max. But Brady's value for the Chargers exceeds his play on the field — which is an upgrade over Rivers. The fan-less Chargers are moving into a new stadium in desperation for relevance. Brady gives the Chargers the following: A home-field advantage eight times a year, primetime games, and some acceptance into the city's collective sports conscience.
2. Tua Tagovailoa
Who knows what Brady will do? He probably doesn't even know. Thus the Chargers may have to settle for a quarterback that isn't the consensus G.O.A.T. Tua Tagovailoa isn't a deflating contingency plan. If it weren't for injuries, Tagovailoa would've at least been the in the discussion to go ahead of Joe Burrow in the draft. Tagovailoa is the polar opposite of Rivers. The Chargers' quarterback play was stuck in 2015 this season — Tagovailoa is 2020. With that said, Tagovailoa may miss the 2020 season. But the Chargers aren't winning the Super Bowl next season, anyway. If it's an objective to compete — if that's what we are calling it — with Patrick Mahomes for the next 15 years, the Lions (who have the third-overall pick) should've gotten this a call before their lunch was finished.
3. Justin Herbert
If the Chargers miss out on Brady, and don't move up in the draft, Justin Herbert at six is a win. Herbert has the tools to make it the NFL. He's mobile with a prototypical frame. He throws an accurate ball with an arm that it good enough. The former 6-feet-6 Duck needs a run game behind him, and no team provides that like the Chargers would. Either the keys are passed to the promising Austin Ekeler or it's a one-two punch if free agent Melvin Gordon is retained.
4. Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater makes sense whether the Chargers draft a first-round quarterback or not. Bridgewater can be a starter in the NFL. But without Sean Payton, he's just that. Which is why he's better suited to compete for a job or fill-in for a year as Tagovailoa learns/gets healthy. If the team signs Bridgewater and uses its top pick on a non-quarterback, the ceiling is a return to the playoffs and more open seats.
5. Cam Newton
I'd predict Cam Newton is the Panthers' starter next season. If he's not, for whatever reason, the Chargers are his best fit. Newton isn't returning to his MVP form. He's dramatic, distracting, and injury-prone. And he's Hollywood. Newton gives a team intrigue, which, again, is a factor here. He's always been more L.A. than Carolina. Oh, and, if the Chargers want to give Magic Johnson a challenge for the city's best smile, Newton is the move.