The battle lines are drawn.
Jay Glazer of FOX, who is never wrong, reported on Monday that the Chargers have “moved on” from quarterback Philip Rivers, who literally has moved out of California. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media claims that the Chargers haven’t decided what to do about Rivers yet.
Rapoport points out that the Chargers could, in theory, apply the franchise tag to Rivers, employing him as a one-year stop-gap while determining what to do in 2021. The more likely play would be to tag Rivers with the hope of trading him, which is precisely what the Chargers considered doing in 2006 with Drew Brees, after tagging him for one season while Rivers was waiting in the wings. (The Chargers eventually let Brees leave as a free agent.)
But here’s the thing: Because Rivers had a cap number for 2019 of $23 million, his franchise tag would be at least $27.6 million for one season. Would the Chargers pay that much to Rivers for one more year? Would anyone?
Tagging Rivers likely entails low risk, however. Now that he and his family have moved, he likely won’t sign the tender and return to L.A. if tagged. Then again, $27.6 million is a lot of money — likely a lot more than someone else would pay him.
Bottom line? There’s no reason to doubt Glazer. But there’s also no reason for the Chargers to prematurely slam the door on the possibility of tagging and trading Rivers.