For the first time in his 16-year career, Philip Rivers was free. With his contract up, the Los Angeles Chargers announced that they would not re-sign their longtime quarterback, allowing Rivers to choose a team different than the one that acquired him in the 2004 NFL Draft.
As expected, teams weren’t banging on the door for the eight-time Pro Bowler. However, the one team that showed the most interest turned out to be the right team.
The Indianapolis Colts agreed to a one-year, $25 million deal with Rivers that also fully guarantees his inaugural season in Indiana. According to Rivers, he had his sights set on the Colts all along.
Rivers reunites with Colts head coach Frank Reich, who was Rivers’ QB coach in 2013 and his offensive coordinator from 2014-2015.
While Rivers is elated to rejoin Reich, he said that if he wasn’t able to strike a deal for the 2020 season, then Rivers would have been open to following in Reich’s footsteps.
Rivers takes over for 27-year-old Jacoby Brissett, who was given a two-year, $30 million contract extension prior to last season. After Brissett’s subpar season, experts expect Rivers to win the Colts’ starting job.
While some may hold Rivers’ age against him, the veteran signal-caller doesn’t think his age will negatively impact his performance.
However, Rivers isn’t expecting to play into his mid-40’s like Tom Brady, 42, has.
Rivers joins an Indianapolis team that finished 7-9 last season. While general manager Chris Ballard has made significant moves on defense ― headlined by the acquisition of defensive lineman DeForest Buckner ― he has yet to make notable changes to the offense.
Rivers will also likely get the same starting offensive linemen, as all five starters will return next season. According to Pro Football Focus, this is an offensive line that was the third-best in the NFL in 2019.
Will it be enough to help Rivers flourish in his first season as a Colt? Will Rivers be enough to take Indianapolis back to the playoffs? Only time will tell.