Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Recent reports suggest that the Los Angeles Chargers and longtime veteran quarterback Philip Rivers could potentially move on from one another this offseason.

Los Angeles is said to be in the market for a quarterback during the 2020 NFL Draft. After a disastrous season, the 38-year-old Rivers is not about to give up on a potential Hall of Fame-worthy career.

It’s in this that the market for Rivers’ services promises to be vast in nature. It will include contending teams with an eye on the short term and other squads looking for a stopgap option.

Below, we power rank the five likeliest landing spots for Rivers once free agency opens up in March.


Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

1- Carolina Panthers

With the future of Cam Newton very much up in the air in Charlotte, these Panthers become a legitimate option. As a family man, the idea of continuing to raise his children in this metropolis makes sense. In comparison to other cities on the list, Charlotte is a darn good place for young ones.

On the field, a lot of this will be predicated on what the Panthers do at head coach after firing Ron Rivera. If they go with an offensive-minded man to lead the team, Rivers is a logical fit for the Panthers. They have the star power on offense and studs on defense to turn this boat around (no offense to Riverboat Ron).


Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

2- New England Patriots 

Rumors continue to persist out of Foxborough that the Patriots and Tom Brady could be headed for an ugly divorce. New England has not committed long-term to the six-time Super Bowl champion. In turn, Brady must feel underappreciated.

Sure Bill Belichick and Co. might be looking to add a quarterback in the first round of April’s Draft. But he’s 67 years old and isn’t going to start anew with a rebuild. Adding someone of Rivers’ ilk would help smooth the transition. At least statistically, the two have not been vastly different over the past three seasons.

Rivers: 65.5 completion, 13,438 yards, 83 TD, 42 INT (96.2 rating)

Brady: 64.2 completion, 12,989 yards, 85 TD, 27 INT (96.0 rating)

Add in the fact that Rivers is more than four years younger than Brady, and this could be the option Belichick is looking for to close out his own Hall of Fame-worthy career.


Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

3- Las Vegas Raiders 

It’s in no way a foregone conclusion that Derek Carr will follow the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas. That was made clear after yet another disappointing and mistake-filled season from the former Pro Bowler. We also know full well that Raiders head coach Jon Gruden fancies himself, veteran quarterbacks, over rookies.

With a roster potentially set to compete for a wild card spot, it makes sense for Oakland to go the veteran route. In turn, Vegas has to be seen as appealing to Rivers. It’s the closest of any realistic option to his home in San Diego and features a sprawling suburban community that has more of a family feel to it than most might originally believe.

Oh, and sticking it to the Chargers by signing with an AFC West rival would feel good for the always passionate 38-year-old signal-caller.


Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

4- Indianapolis Colts

The one team that has been linked to Rivers since reports of his potential divorce with the Chargers, Indianapolis makes sense for a number of reasons. It has a roster capable of competing. However, the untimely retirement of Andrew Luck this past summer threw things off-kilter.

Jacoby Brissett might have played well initially, but he fell off the map down the stretch.

Brissett 2019 splits Comp % Yards TD INT Rating
First 8 games 64.8 1,649 14 3 99.7
Final 7 games 56.4 1,293 4 3 75.0

Sure some of these struggles had to do with the knee injury Brissett suffered back in Week 9. Even then, Indy is not sold on him as a long-term solution.

It can also get out from under the two-year, $30 million extension the team signed Brissett to back in September with a modest dead cap hit for next season. It’s in this that Rivers to the Colts makes a ton of sense.


Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

5- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bruce Arians made it perfectly clear after Jameis Winston’s disastrous 2019 campaign that the team could do better with another quarterback. Set to become a free agent, Winston made history by tallying 30-plus touchdowns and 30-plus interceptions in 2019. That’s a pretty astonishing feat, one that won’t serve him well as Tampa Bay decides on what’s next.

Dating back to his Arizona Cardinals days, Arians has had an affinity for veteran quarterbacks. The success he saw with Carson Palmer was a prime example of this. It makes perfect sense for the veteran head coach to go the very same route with Rivers.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.


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Michael Vick
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