The LA Chargers are rumored to be parting ways with quarterback Philip Rivers. Does adding him as a backup quarterback make sense for the LA Rams?
The LA Rams have plenty to do this off-season. But the team cannot be so fixated on a scripted response to the disappointment of the 2019 season that the team fails to take advantage of new opportunities to improve. For example, NFL rumors are circulating that the LA Chargers are releasing former quarterback Philip Rivers, preparing to draft a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft. Right now, the Rams are set at starting quarterback with Jared Goff. But what of the bench?
Right now, backup quarterback Blake Bortles is set to hit free agency in 2020. Bortles was an inexpensive backup, signed for just $1,000,000 in 2019. While that is cheap indeed, I think there is a consensus that adding Phillip Rivers would be an upgrade at the backup quarterback position.
Would Rivers agree to a backup role? Well, that’s certainly a question worth asking. After all, the Chargers long-term starting quarterback had already pre-empted the likelihood of playing backup by moving his entire family to Florida. That move alone has linked him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Of course, there are no guarantees in this league. If no Florida team ante’s up for Rivers, he would then be forced to consider other options. That means that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, and Jacksonville Jaguars would all need to pass.
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That’s unlikely, but not impossible. In that scenario, since he won’t be playing for a local team, the next priority would likely fall to playing for a championship team.
And the LA Rams certainly meet that criteria.
Rivers is exiting a long-term contract worth $83.25 million over the past four seasons. While some may project his earnings to remain at that $20 million / year mark, I don’t think the crowded quarterback market in this year’s free agency can support anywhere near that amount. In fact, with a half dozen or so of NFL prospects joining the league via the 2020 NFL Draft, the pressure on the quarterback market may result in some true bargains.
Why would we link the Rams to a veteran quarterback? The Rams current quarterback situation is completely up in the air. Behind Goff, the team only has reserve quarterback John Wolford, who recently signed a 2020 reserve future contract. Wolford is a former quarterback from Wake Forest who signed on with the team in April 2019.
If the Rams want to be a Super Bowl contender in 2020, the team must add more competition to the backup quarterback role. It was clear that recent years in the NFL mandate a solid player sitting on the bench to come in under center to lead the team to a win.
Phillip Rivers is not THE answer for the LA Rams backup quarterback role. But he could be a very astute option if the free agency market does not snatch him up rather quickly. He is a wily veteran who still has plenty of shredding opposing defenses left in him. Pair him up with the Rams receivers, and it’s a brand new wave of optimism for the 2020 NFL season.