Peyton Manning will need to be replaced in 2016 or 2017. He technically said he doesn’t know what he’ll do after the 2015 season, and much of it depends on whether or not the Broncos win the Super Bowl. However, it does feel like Manning is close to the end of the line, so it’s safe to point to this season as his last.
There’s one player who recently stepped into the picture to replace Manning in a move that both Denver and San Diego fans would absolutely hate: Philip Rivers.
San Diego fans would hate it because Rivers has been a tremendous quarterback during his time with the team. He’s clearly the focal point of the team, the offense runs through him and he’s made the Chargers look like Super Bowl contenders at times. He’s a franchise quarterback who has always worn the Bolts’ logo, and they’d hate to see him go to a divisional rival like the Broncos.
Broncos fans would hate it because, well, it’s Philip Rivers. He’s got a big mouth. He’s brash, cocky and obnoxious.
Not to mention the fact that he’s a great player and has beaten the Broncos more times than many fans care to think about. That brash, cocky attitude is really just his fire to win and the belief that he’s the best—exactly what you want in a quarterback.
The reason Rivers has hit this spotlight is because he told Kevin Acee of UT-San Diego that he is not going to move forward and sign an extension with the Chargers. He got one back in 2010, along with $91.8M, and the final year is the 2015 season. Rivers expects to play his way through it and make a decision at the end of the year.
This doesn’t mean he’ll change teams or even hit the free agent market. But it does mean that he could do both of those things, and Denver would have the money—$19M—and the need if Manning decides to retire.
Rivers would absolutely fit in Denver. He has a good arm, he can move enough to run fluidly through play action passes and he’s a seasoned vet. He could flourish under Gary Kubiak, perhaps more than he has in San Diego.
There are also a lot of unknowns in San Diego. The defense is good, but not great. They’re still looking for a star running back. He has good receiving weapons, but the Chargers still have a lot to do to be real Super Bowl contenders, and they also need to work out a deal for a new stadium.
A lot is up in the air, and Rivers may just feel that the Chargers aren’t realistically going to win a Super Bowl before he retires. He could be looking for another city with better odds of winning it all.
A lot of players get to the end of their careers and they just want to win a ring. They’ll play almost anywhere to get it. Even for a rival team they used to hate.