Eli Manning may have the Super Bowl ring, but the Chargers got the better quarterback in their 2004 draft day trade for Philip Rivers. They also got kicker Nate Kaeding and linebacker Shawne Merriman in the deal.
Despite all that, plenty of Chargers fans still have animosity towards Manning for forcing his way out of town. It sounds like Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith does as well.
“He was a Charger for 45 minutes,” Smith told the Sporting News “and that was too much time to be a Charger, in my opinion.”
It’s not that Smith regrets the move. But he clearly still doesn’t like how the situation was handled, even if it worked in his favor.
“He was a value pick,” Smith said about Manning. “He was a bar of gold.”
Smith turned that bar into a nice package of players, but that wouldn’t have mattered unless Rivers turned into one of the best quarterbacks of the league. We’d put him at the top of the list of best active quarterbacks without a title.
“I believe with my heart and soul that he one day will lead the Chargers to a world championship,” Smith said. “He’s a great quarterback—a phenomenal leader with great character, great work habits.”
We agree. Put Rivers on the ’07 Giants and he wins a title. Put him on the Steelers since 2004 and he’d have at least one title too.