After 16 seasons with the Chargers, Philip Rivers will enter NFL free agency. Several teams could improve with the veteran at the helm.
The New York Giants selected Philip Rivers with the fourth overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft before trading him to the then-San Diego Chargers. In 16 seasons with the team, Rivers amassed 123 wins, six playoff berths, eight Pro Bowls and the sixth-most passing yards in NFL history. Now, the 38-year-old veteran will test the waters of NFL free agency for the first time.
Rivers did not start a game in his first two seasons with the Chargers. Instead, he sat behind Drew Brees. When Brees left for New Orleans following the 2005 season, Rivers took over full-time and started a streak of 235 consecutive starts with the Chargers. That streak will end in Week 1 of 2020. The Los Angeles Chargers hold the sixth overall pick in the upcoming draft. Many people believe they could take Rivers’ replacement.
With Rivers officially out of a job, the veteran quarterback can carefully collect offers and survey his best potential landing spots. The way things stand, the following five teams look like prime locations for the potential future Hall of Famer to end up in 2020 NFL free agency.
5. Carolina Panthers
While the Panthers may not be in the best place to win this upcoming season, the team boasts some significant weapons. Christian McCaffrey is a better receiver than 90% of the wide receivers in the NFL. D.J. Moore looks like a real top threat, and Curtis Samuel finally stepped into a full-time starting role last season.
Focusing on what the Panthers do have instead of what they don’t illuminates several positives. There are plenty of young, skilled players working on the offense, the head coach is new and energetic, and the team’s owner is relatively new. All of these factors could attract Rivers to Carolina.
However, the Panthers entered rebuild mode before the 2019 season even ended. Firing Ron Rivera and bringing in Matt Rhule on a long-term deal signals a serious changing of the guard. Luke Kuechly retiring and Greg Olsen moving on also aids the narrative that Carolina isn’t planning on competing for a Super Bowl in 2020.
Plus, the Panthers still need to decide on Cam Newton‘s fate. The former MVP could stay on and renew his role as the team’s starting quarterback in 2020. Or, if his rehab goes poorly, he could get shopped around for some mid-round draft picks. Newton’s current contract runs out after the 2020 season.