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A letter to Philip Rivers: It's time for you to move on from the Chargers

Philip Rivers, you're a great quarterback, but the team around you isn't. It's time to leave the Chargers—your professional career will thank you.

Philip. Philip, can you hear me? I know you’re out there somewhere. I need you to listen, Philip Rivers.

You may not know it because you love San Diego so much. You may not understand it because of your deep loyalty to the Chargers and their fans. But it’s time, Philip. It’s time for you to leave.

You’re not getting any younger and your team isn’t getting any better. As bad as last season’s 4–12 record was, 2016 may be even worse.

Your promising wideout is done for the season. Your electrifying, gritty running back is gone for the year, too. Two of the defense’s best players—linebacker Manti Te’o and cornerback Jason Verrett—suffered season-ending injuries recently.

This year is lost, and I’m tired of seeing you lose seasons. The Chargers have the Raiders, Broncos, Falcons and Broncos coming up in the next four games. Coach Mike McCoy is 3–12 in games decided by eight points or fewer, and he’s 5–16 in the past 21 games. It’s not going to get any better.

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You’ve given so much to this franchise, including your ACL in the 2007 AFC Championship Game. The 42,557 passing yards are the fifth-most among active quarterbacks, and the four in front of you are guaranteed to go into the Hall of Fame. And of the 13 players in front of you on the all-time list, 11 are either in the Hall or will eventually find their way there.

But my concern here is for you. I’m not convinced you’re going to make it to Canton if you don’t get out of your current situation. The statistics are there, but your final years where you can really state your case are washing away into the Pacific.

At the end of this season, you’ll be 35 years old with another 4,000-yard season under your belt. It’ll be the eighth time in nine years you’ve surpassed the mark, and you’ll have done it with spare parts.

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But I can tell you right now, there will be no playoffs for you. You’ve been to the postseason once since 2010, and I don’t see it happening for your squad any time in the near future.

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Your loyalty to this franchise is unquestioned. You signed a four-year extension last year with the specter of a team moving to Los Angeles staring the Chargers in the face. You believed in the team and stuck around, and you’re being repaid with heartbreaking loss after heartbreaking loss.

“You try to laugh to keep from crying,” you said after your team fumbled away another fourth-quarter lead. You deserve better, Philip.

It’s time to get rid of the no-trade clause in your contact and ask—nay, demand—general manager Tom Telesco to send you to a team that will be competitive. If the opportunity arises during the season, you should pull the trigger. If not, do it no later than next spring.

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I can’t imagine what it would be like to move your family of 10 from San Diego to a new city, but your professional career needs it. Look how well it’s worked out for Carson Palmer in Arizona. Teams like the Jets, Dolphins, Bears, 49ers and Washington could all use you starting this season or the next. Your Chargers will demand a first-round pick for you and then they’ll have two chances at their next franchise quarterback to reboot the team (with a new coach, too.) They’ll manage without you.

And there’s plenty of tread left on your tires. Quarterbacks are playing forever nowadays. You have at least another three years in your after the season and probably more.

You’re a legend in San Diego and always will be. You’ll handle the departure as well as anyone, and you’ll be greeted like the home team’s starter when you return to the stadium in different colors.

I hope this reaches you in time, Philip.