Philip Rivers Out With The Chargers - What Happens Next?

Written by:
C Costigan
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The NFL offseason free agent derby got significantly more interesting on Monday when longtime Los Angeles Chargers starting quarterback Philip Rivers announced that after sixteen seasons he and the team had agreed to part ways.  This means the Chargers will have a new starting quarterback for the first time in nearly 20 years and also that Rivers is on the market where he’ll certainly draw the interest of any team that needs a quarterback.

Rivers’ ‘divorce’ from the Chargers wasn’t unexpected but now that it has been made official the repercussions on the free agent market are already being felt.  There are now three extremely salient areas of speculation as it relates to Rivers and the Chargers.  The first is Rivers’ new destination.  Rivers is a family man and that will likely have as much influence on where he’ll be playing this fall as the amount of money a team can throw at him.  The second question concerns the next starting quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers.  That topic also leads us to the third—and perhaps most interesting—area of speculation:  will the Chargers next starting quarterback be Tom Brady?

BetOnline.ag has posted betting odds on these topics and over the next few days we’ll give their betting board a look and see if we can find some value:


Just a couple of weeks ago the prevailing wisdom among NFL football cognoscenti was that Philip Rivers would not hit the open market.  The thinking was that Rivers would either re-up with the Chargers or retire with the broadcast booth a likely next destination.  Free agency appeared to be a very unlikely scenario to the point that many NFL experts omitted Rivers from the list of top free agent quarterbacks on the market.

The situation began to change a week or two ago when reports began to circulate that Rivers would not be in the Chargers future plans.  At the time, BetOnline.ag listed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+200), Indianapolis Colts (+300), Carolina Panthers (+400) and Las Vegas Raiders (+400) as the top choices to land the veteran quarterback.

In the revised odds market released today, Tampa Bay is an even stronger choice to sign Rivers priced at +150.  There are personal and professional reasons that this could be a good fit for Rivers.  The Bucs are likely to move on from Jameis Winston at quarterback and Rivers would be a massive upgrade.  Rivers would likely benefit from working with head coach Bruce Arians who has a reputation for reviving the career of veteran quarterbacks.  Ultimately, however, it could be that Tampa Bay is the best option for Rivers for personal reasons—he has already moved his family from Southern California to Florida.  That doesn’t necessarily make it a ‘slam dunk’ that he’ll end up with Tampa Bay as many celebrities and athletes have part time or full time residences in the Sunshine State.  The favorable logistics will definitely play a part in Rivers’ decision.


The Colts, Panthers and Raiders are still next on the list though the odds have been revised.  Indianapolis is now at +275 on speculation that the team would like to find a proven commodity at quarterback after Jacoby Brissett struggled late in the season.  It’s worth pointing out that Brissett played well early on and that a rash of injuries to skill position players on offense had as much to do with his regression as anything.  Carolina (now +500) may or may not need a new quarterback as Matt Rhule takes over as head coach.  That all depends on the status of Cam Newton.  If the Panthers think that he can get past his injuries and return to a high level of play he’ll be the starter.  If not, it’s doubtful that Will Grier and/or Kyle Allen will be considered for the full time starter position.  Both Grier and Allen are young and well regarded with considerable upside.  It wouldn’t be a surprise to see either or both as viable NFL starters down the road.  At this juncture, however, they would be better in a backup role.  Signing a quarterback of Rivers’ pedigree would be a clear sign to Panthers boosters that the team is serious about competing immediately.

The Las Vegas Raiders are also +500 to sign Rivers and their situation might be the most nuanced of the aforementioned quartet.  The Raiders are moving to a new stadium in a new city and obviously want to quickly make a splash in their new home.  Derek Carr is the current starting quarterback—he’s signed through the 2022 season with a contract valued at $125 million, $70 million of which is guaranteed.  Since Carr signed his deal the Raiders have gone 17-31 in three seasons.  They’ve also picked up a new head coach in Jon Gruden.  Carr’s status also hinges on other factors.  The Raiders have made it clear that they’re going to try to lure Tom Brady out to the ‘Silver State’.  While that would obviously be a lifestyle upgrade for Brady it remains to be seen a) how things play out with Brady and the Patriots and b) whether or not Brady considers the Los Angeles Chargers a better fit.

In other words, Rivers would definitely be an attractive ‘Plan B’ for the Las Vegas franchise but there are a lot of ‘moving parts’ that have to go the right way to make that happen.  For now, Brady to Vegas remains in play—the Raiders are currently a +300 favorite to land the future Hall of Famer but that comes with a big caveat.  The prevailing wisdom is that Brady will return to New England and that’s clearly reflected on the BetOnline.ag odds board where he’s a -400 favorite to be on the Patriots’ roster in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season.


Next time—we’ll look at the Los Angeles Chargers’ options for the starting quarterback position which also could include Tom Brady.


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