The San Diego Chargers are a team facing many questions in 2015 and beyond. First and foremost may be where are they gong to be playing past next season. Will the Chargers stay in San Diego, or is Los Angeles finally going to get a team? And, if the Chargers do make the move to L.A., will Philip Rivers travel with them? Rivers has said that he is unsure if he would want to remain with the Chargers if they depart San Diego, clouding the future of the entire franchise and its quarterback. With that being said, the Chargers may need to plan for the future a few years earlier than they had hoped, meaning all options need to be discussed. While the team may say that trading Rivers is not even on their radar, one little phone call from either a rival general manager or from the quarterback himself could change their entire landscape within a matter of minutes. Therefore, would the Chargers trade Rivers to the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns Or New York Jets prior to the 2015 NFL Draft in just over a month?
Before you all crucify me, let me state for the record that I do not believe that trading Rivers would in the Chargers’ best interest. He is still a borderline top 10 quarterback and still has what it takes to win at a consistent level in the NFL. Finding a replacement for a guy like that is rarely easy. Very few teams have had the luxury of going from Joe Montana to Steve Young or, more recently, from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck. If you trade Rivers, where do you go from there?
Well, if the Chargers trade Rivers to the Titans for the No. 2 overall pick n the 2015 NFL Draft, they would likely select Marcus Mariota. Mike McCoy would love to have Mariota slip to the No. 17 spot, where the Chargers currently would pick, but there are enough QB-needy teams out there that would likely move up ahead of them to draft the Heisman winner from Oregon. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looking very likely to take Jameis Winston at No. 1, the only way that the Chargers could basically guarantee that Mariota is the quarterback of the future would be to trade all the way up to No. 2 and send Rivers to the Titans.
Other teams that could use a huge upgrade at quarterback and also possess high enough picks to potentially get a deal done with San Diego include the Redskins (No. 5), Jets (No. 6) and Browns (No. 12 and 19). The Texans hold the No. 16 spot, making it highly unlikely that the Chargers would trade Rivers to move up just one spot to draft Mariota. Houston would need to include more in the deal.
Ultimately, I don’t know what situation would be best for Rivers. I would have to lean toward him remaining with the Chargers, and past the 2015 season, regardless of which city the team calls home next year. It is not easy to find a franchise quarterback. Just ask any of the aforementioned teams still searching for one. Unless the Chargers are destined for Los Angeles, and that Rivers says that there is no way he will remain with the team if they leave San Diego, the Chargers should not trade Rivers. Even if that means missing out on Mariota.
Sure, Mariota could be the next Russell Wilson. He could also just as easily be the next Akili Smith. Drafting any player is always a risk, especially at the quarterback position. In a day and age where the Chargers are still a playoff team in the current state of the NFL, it would be awfully risky to trade Rivers, despite the fact that every team always has to have an eye on the future.