For the first time in 16 seasons, the Los Angels Chargers will begin a football season without Philip Rivers as their signal caller. Rivers was the NFL's fourth-leading passer in 2019, but the Chargers only won five games. Rivers put up big yardage numbers, yet he threw just 23 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions. That simply won't cut it.
The Chargers will likely try to draft a franchise quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft, but will that rookie be ready to start Week 1? Whoever earns the starting quarterback job will have some young and talented playmakers on offense. Keenan Allen is one of the top wideouts in the game. Mike Williams has a ton of potential as does tight end Hunter Henry.
The Chargers want to run the ball successfully to win, but Melvin Gordon won't be returning next season. The backfield will likely be led by Austin Ekeler, who just signed a four-year, 24 million dollar deal.
Here are some of the Chargers' most likely Week 1 starting quarterbacks along with their Vegas betting odds:
Tyrod Taylor +150
I'm glad Taylor is the leader in the club house. I believe that he has never truly had a chance to carry a franchise. Taylor is not the flashiest player, he is more of a game manager. However, he does have the skills and leadership to efficiently run the offense. Coaches love Taylor because he does not turn the football over. In three seasons as the starter in Buffalo, Taylor threw 51 touchdown passes compared to 16 interceptions. Taylor also has the ability to make plays with his legs, which is an important asset to have in today's NFL. Finally, Taylor has the full blessing of coach Anthony Lynn who also coached Taylor in Buffalo. Lynn recently sang Taylor's praises saying he was a heck of a quarterback and that he knew what Taylor brought to the table in the passing and running game.
Teddy Bridgewater +600
Like Taylor, Bridgewater is another quarterback who I feel has never really had a chance to show he can lead a franchise. In Minnesota, the coaching staff never took the training wheels off. They never allowed him to let it loose, yet he still would have a playoff victory over the Legion of Boom if it wasn't for a missed chip shot field goal.
The season after that playoff loss, Bridgewater suffered a devastating knee injury and has been a backup ever since. Bridgwater shined in a short preseason stint with the Jets, and he was absolutely brilliant in 2019, leading the Saints when Drew Brees went down with a thumb injury. Still, the Saints seem to be in love with Taysom Hill as their quarterback of the future. Bridgwater needs to be a starter in this league next season, but it won't be for the Chargers. Bridgewater and Taylor are similar players, but Taylor has the advantage of already being on the team and having a relationship with coach Anthony Lynn.
Andy Dalton +700
Unlike Bridgewater and Taylor, Dalton has had plenty of chances to show what he can do as a starting quarterback and leader of a franchise. That will come to an end in a few weeks when the Bengals take Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Dalton wasn't terrible in his time as a starter, he was just very mediocre, the classic ham sandwich or "just a guy" type of player. A change in scenery and the Chargers' weapons could be a good thing for Dalton, but Los Angeles has a better option in-house with Taylor.
Tom Brady +700
Brady to the Chargers seemed like it had legs at some point, but that died off quickly for some reason. Los Angeles may have actually been a good spot for Brady. The Chargers have a very talented roster and it seems like adequate quarterback play was all they needed to really make a run. One of the issues with Brady is the fact that NFL talent evaluators may feel as if Tom Brady is washed up. I'm sure Brady thought he would have a better market than he currently does, but it seems like there is not a lot of interest in a 43-year-old. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the favorites to land Brady, but I would not count out the Patriots and Chargers.
Jameis Winston +1200
I feel bad for Jameis Winston. My guy has a ton of talent but can't stay out of his own way. A few seasons ago, it looked like Winston was turning the corner. Unfortunately, he ended up going in reverse. Bruce Arians and the organization seemed to have had his back until Tom Brady became available. The only shot Winston has at being a starter in the league next year would be in Tampa. The Chargers are not going to get rid of a turnover-prone quarterback to bring in another turnover-prone quarterback. The turnovers coupled with the off-the-field issues have me believing Winston will be a backup next season.
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