The first round of the 2004 draft brought three great quarterbacks to the NFL, and J.P. Losman. One of those great quarterbacks will be moving after this season. Another one could be, too.
Even before Thursday night, the signs were there for a quarterback change. In recent years, the Chargers have flirted with the idea of drafting an eventual replacement. From a possible trade up for Marcus Mariota in 2015 to the potential selection of Deshaun Watson in 2017, the idea of moving on from Rivers has lingered for a while.
Rivers turns 38 a month from today. This year, his numbers are down from 2018. On Thursday night, he threw three interceptions — and two more that were overturned by penalty. With the game on the line, Rivers failed to complete a pass, going 0-for-7 with an interception.
While the blame extends beyond Rivers, especially since the Chargers had plenty of time and three timeouts to get in range for a potential game-winning field goal, the quarterback’s throws were grossly inaccurate. In hindsight, that could be the moment that the Chargers decided the time has come for change.
There’s another reason for the Chargers to make a change after the 2019 season. They’ll be moving into a new stadium next year, and they’ve had a hard time establishing a fan base in L.A. They need to consider adding players who will energize the franchise and, in turn, the pool of paying customers.
At quarterback, they should seriously consider making a run at Cam Newton, if he’s available in trade. If not Newton, they should consider trying to sign Tom Brady, who would definitely sell PSLs, tickets, and jerseys.
That doesn’t mean it’s over for Rivers. He’d be a great addition to a team like the Titans, which would be a real contender with better quarterback play. But it feels like it’s over for the Chargers and Rivers. Just like it’s over for the Giants and the quarterback who made a power play that kept him from being drafted and retained by the Chargers more than 15 years ago.