One of the big rumors of the 2015 NFL offseason revolved around Phillip Rivers. The 33-year old Chargers quarterback was said to be on the trade block leading up to the NFL draft. While his future was in question, Rivers finally decided his future Saturday night, as he signed a 4-year $83 million extension, with $65 million guaranteed. The contract makes it likely Rivers will retire a Charger. Despite rumors of the team moving to Los Angeles, Rivers decided this team is built to be a Super Bowl contender during the rest of his career, and he won’t have to move his family. In case you didn’t know, Rivers is the anti-Antonio Cromartie, as he has seven kids with his one wife.
As is the norm when a quarterback signs a new contract, everybody freaks out when they see the numbers. The same thing happened with Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, the list goes on. This is a simple supply and demand problem. The supply of capable quarterbacks in the National Football League is limited, while the demand is through the roof. If you can get a good quarterback, you’ve rebuilt your team. The Bills and Texans have great rosters, but they don’t have quarterbacks, and therefore they can’t make the playoffs. The Colts and Patriots have more limited rosters, but they have Tom Brady and Andrew Luck, so they’re contenders every year.
And if you’re really concerned about how much Phillip Rivers is going to make, let’s look at his standing amongst other NFL quarterbacks. Time for a quick tier ranking.
Tier 1 (Can Carry a Weak Roster to the Super Bowl): In no particular order, this tier consists of Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, and Tom Brady
Tier 2 (Can Win a Super Bowl With a Decent Roster, Can Win Games With Bad Teams): Mostly In order, Joe Flacco, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Rivers, Eli Manning, Tony Romo, and Drew Brees. Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, and Cam Newton might be there, but they have more to prove.
So there you go, Rivers is in a pretty elite class of quarterbacks. It’s hard to argue he’s not at least a top ten quarterback. And by the way, because I know everyone’s going to be outraged by this, Peyton Manning can’t win a Super Bowl anymore. You could see it in the playoff loss last year. His body is too beaten down to play at an elite level for an entire season, and in cold weather he doesn’t have a prayer.
The Chargers could be a sleeper this year. They’re talented offensively, and have a decent defense as well. In a division where the Broncos have taken some hits this offseason, they are a legitimate threat to win the AFC West. The team had a chance to throw it in. They could’ve traded Rivers for a high pick and taken Marcus Mariota and announced to the world they were rebuilding. But they didn’t. And now they’ve signed Rivers for the next four years, and told everybody that they are in it to win it for the next few years.