The San Diego Chargers have been ravaged by injuries the past few seasons. Every year they look like they have a promising team then a few games into the season their hopes seem to diminish.
Having said that, should the Chargers seriously consider trading away their franchise cornerstone QB Philip Rivers?
The conventional response is absolutely not. He makes this offense go and he is a fan favorite. However, considering he is 34 years old and only has a few more elite seasons left, why not get something for him?
The typical response is “Rivers makes the Chargers a playoff contender.” This is a true statement however when you lose key offensive players like WR Keenan Allen (ACL), WR Stevie Johnson (knee), RB Danny Woodhead (ACL) and RB Branden Oliver (achilles) within the first four games of the season, there isn’t much to look forward to on offense.
Allen has been lost to season-ending injuries twice in back-to-back seasons, and Woodhead has been lost to season-ending injury two out of the last three seasons. On top of that countless key defensive players like LB Manti Te’o (achilles) and CB Jason Verrett (ACL)are out for the year as well.
When you lose guys of this caliber on any team your season looks bleak. So why not consider trading a guy like Rivers to hit the restart button on your franchise?
Three positives from trading Rivers:
One, the Chargers can get a hansom return for parting ways with him. To gauge the market, let’s take a look at the recent trade between the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles, for QB Sam Bradford. The Eagles received a 2017 first-round pick and conditional fourth-round pick that can be possibly upgraded to either a third or second based on performance.
Rivers is arguably a top 5 QB in the NFL and should easily yield more draft picks than Bradford. To even get the ball rolling, teams will have to offer the Chargers general manager Tom Telesco at least two first-round picks in any type of trade. It sounds absurd to think that a QB of Rivers’ age and the $63 million salary he is owed between 2017-2019 that he could command such a return but the reality is there is a short supply of quality QBs in the league.
The biggest obstacle for the Chargers will not be finding suitors for Rivers services but having him rescind his no-trade clause that is written in his contract in 2015.
Two, the Chargers will be able to open up cap-space to lure a top flight player to turn the luck of the franchise around. According to spotrac.com, the Chargers will have north of $9 million in cap-space in 2017. If you take Rivers salary off the books the Chargers cap-space would balloon to north of $30 million. Imagine what they would be able to do with that…
Three, it will allow the Chargers to adjust to life without Rivers sooner and allow the team to figure out a new way to win and move forward. This is important because this will take the illusion away that the Chargers are actually good. It sounds very critical but this team is very mediocre without Rivers. The defense is young and talented but has yet to play to its fullest-potential, the offensive line is old and fragile and they figured out this season that outside of Allen this team does not have enough reliable weapons on offense. I am not taking anything away from what RB Melvin Gordon has done but this is a passing league and the roles of running backs have diminished in recent years.
All in all, this is a very harsh assessment after four-games into the 2016 season but the Chargers have not made the playoffs since 2013 and had a top-3 pick in this years draft. By the way this season is going they may be pretty close to picking somewhere close to their in 2017. As long as the Chargers continue to falter in the face of adversity and the Chargers brass stay conservative and not willing to make a splash to replace the big holes left by their star players the outcome will be the same. The Chargers are just wasting money and gaining nothing out of it. It’s time to rebuild.
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