Rivers, Chargers may be simply playing the leverage game


Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers says he doesn’t intend to sign a new contract until after his current contract expires.  The Chargers have kicked the tires on incoming rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, sparking plenty of speculation that the Chargers could use Rivers as bait to trade up for a shot at Mariota.

Ludicrous on the surface, at a deeper level it all makes sense.  The Titans need a franchise quarterback.  (More specifically, they need a player people outside of Nashville actually have heard of.)  Rivers supposedly has concerns about moving his young family to L.A.  The Chargers, if they don’t have Rivers, need a young franchise quarterback who can help the Chargers win a market they’ll likely be sharing with the Rams or Raiders.

At an even deeper level, there’s a good chance it’ll all leverage.  Rivers realizes that, just as the value of the franchise will increase if/when the Chargers move to Los Angeles, his value to the franchise will increase, too.  For the same reason they’d possibly need Mariota, the Chargers definitely need Rivers.  And that means the Chargers should be willing to pay Rivers a premium to re-up with the team.

From the team’s perspective, the best (only) way to squeeze Rivers into taking less is to create the not-so-subtle impression that they’ll move on from him sooner than the natural progression of his career would dictate.

So what do the Titans gain from this?  The No. 2 overall pick acquires greater perceived value, with a higher demand (and in turn more significant compensation) emerging for a potential trade.

A trade of the pick to the Chargers for Rivers remains highly unlikely.  The Chargers realize the risk of trading a proven commodity for a chance that a player will become a proven commodity.  And if anyone knows how the second overall pick in the draft can become a bust, it’s the Chargers.

24 responses to “Rivers, Chargers may be simply playing the leverage game

  1. Interesting theory, but I’m not buying it.

    I think Rivers simply doesn’t want bring his family to L.A. because of his upbringing, being a mormon and all that comes with it.

  2. The Titans are NOT an experienced QB away from contending. Keep your pick and build your defense. DON’T take Mariota.

  3. Ludicrous on the surface? It’s unclear to me why the media have this love-affair w/ Rivers (beyond that he is “tough”)….No QB has more turnovers (INT’s and Fumbles) over the last 5 years than Rivers. He’s a turnover machine…

    He’s stop gap at best…As a Charger fan – I’d rather go .500 w/ a young QB – than 9-7 w/ Rivers. Its time to find the QB for our future.

  4. If/when Rivers ends up in Tennessee the tragedy will be watching the Boltie faithful turn against the best QB the Chargers ever had since Fouts.

  5. Lol no QB has been sacked as much as him either. Philip Rivers is the only reason why we have won any games since LT left for New York. It’s not time they get a younger franchise QB (which I’m not sold Mariota is). It’s time to spend & give Rivers a team so we can win.

  6. I thought this was a leverage issue when it first came up a few weeks ago.

    The Chargers are not letting Rivers go. If they had any concerns with him, there would be more going on than this.

  7. I think he is simply betting on himself and his preferred option of staying in San Diego.

    Remember Joe Flacco did this? Got himself a fat contract after winning the Super Bowl, not even close to worth that now.

  8. Rivers has top 10 LIFETIME ratings in numerous QB categories. If he was playing behind even a mediocre OL the last 5 years, he would be considered an ELITE QB.

    The only thing that about Rivers that is “stop-gap” is him stopping the Chargers from having losing seasons year after year. Its time to build a team AROUND him.

  9. @boltshawk,

    It seems that every Rivers post you make this claim. Not true. I picked one QB to look at with a reputation for turnovers, and that guy (Eli) has 113 TOs to Rivers’ 97 during that span. I stopped there.

    That number is still too high. Rivers is definitely turning the ball over more than he used to, about five more a year. Some percentage is on him, but you can definitely attribute a portion of the increase to the poor line play. His worst two years happened during Turner’s term after losing McNeil and Dielman to career-ending injuries.

  10. From what I have read he wants to keep his family in San Diego. So, why would he have to move his family out of San Diego just because the team moved to LA? Its not as if the San Diego area is that far away. Would he prefer keeping his family in SD while he plays in TN? Makes no sense.

  11. Except that sort of thing is just not Rivers’ style. He doesn’t posture, doesn’t play games for more money. He’s never done it. He knows he will get paid like a Top 5 NFL Qb should.

  12. “I think Rivers simply doesn’t want bring his family to L.A. because of his upbringing, being a mormon and all that comes with it.”

    Rivers is Catholic, not Mormon. Same B.S. About Rivers “crying” when in reality he’s insanely competive looking for any little edge he can find within the rules. I will say a lot of fans from other teams seemed to change their opinion of him after actually hearing him talk after a MNF game and realizing the dude just loves the game straight up and that he’s the first person to point a finger at himself.

  13. So wait a minute, the Chargers, if they don’t have Rivers, need a young franchise quarterback who can help the Chargers win…But can’t the same be said about the Titans? When do we finally get a franchise QB rather than rely on incapable “Vets?”

  14. I don’t think Rivers is that deep of a thinker. I don’t think he wants to move to LA, and I can’t fault him for that. I won’t be a Chargers’ fan if they move to LA.

    As for just slapping the franchise tag on him, that doesn’t do any good. He could just retire and the Chargers would end up getting nothing for him.

    The Chargers don’t have a good record when dealing with the potential loss of a player. Sproles and Vincent Jackson walked out the door, and the Chargers got nothing in return.

    They kept Tomlinson two years longer than they should have and he left for the Jets. Again they got nothing in return. It is better to lose a player a year to early than a year too late.

    Brees gets injured in an end of the season game and his trade value collapses.

    Now we have Rivers, who apparently doesn’t want to play in LA.

    We will soon see if the Chargers under Telesco has learned from the mistakes of the Chargers under AJ Smith had made.

  15. People that say they wont be a charger fan if the team moves need to take a hike !
    This is a business and a business always does whats in its best interest.
    If thats too much for you to handle find another hobby .
    As for sharing a stadium with the raiders no thanks thats bad biz
    You dont put foreman and ali in the same apartment and hope the place doesnt get ruined .
    Raider fans dont deserve a new stadium or the right to share with anyone .
    They cause too many problems due to lack of class or any desire to be sportsman like .
    That being said i really really really hope the chargers stay in san diego and get a new stadium !

    Always a bolt fan

  16. I don’t like how the tone of this article already assumes a LA move. How about if/when SD gets a stadium deal done Chargers and NFL would be obligated to stay put

  17. Someone on this thread said Philip Rivers is a Mormon? Uh, not even close. He’s a very strict Catholic.

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