The Los Angeles Chargers entered the offseason with Philip Rivers' pending free agency hanging over the franchise. It now appears the team has made a decision on the veteran quarterback's future.
According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, the Chargers have "moved on from Philip Rivers" after a 16-year run with the franchise.
Rivers endured a difficult 2019 season, committing 23 total turnovers that contributed to the Chargers' 2-9 record in games decided by a touchdown or less. The 38-year-old quarterback acknowledged that his time with the organization could come to a close this offseason but repeatedly stated his desire to continue playing into 2020. "As I stand today, as long as somebody wants me, I'll be playing somewhere," he said following Los Angeles' season finale. "But shoot, in a month, I don't know. I may be ready to put on a headset and call a play. I don't know. I really don't. But as honest as I can answer right now, if one of 32 teams want me and it's the right situation, and I can start that 225th game in a row, I'll be running out there."
At least publicly, the Chargers did not dismiss the notion of Rivers returning for a 17th year with the organization. "In a perfect world, No. 17 is your quarterback forever," general manager Tom Telesco said when asked about Rivers' future during his season-closing press conference. "I hope that I'm not offending Dan Fouts when I say that. [Rivers] has meant everything to this organization. You work with different players differently. He has been here for a long time. When I talk with him, he's a joy to work with. Nobody has a better perspective on what goes on -- not only just with him, but with the football team -- than he does."
But while the two sides kept the door open for another season together, Rivers and his family moved from their longtime home in San Diego to a permanent residence in Florida earlier in January. Rivers spent the past three seasons commuting from San Diego to the Chargers' practice facilities in Costa Mesa, California.
If Rivers indeed departs this offseason, the Chargers will feature a different starter under center for the first time since 2006. Telesco entertained the possibility of drafting Rivers' successor in the upcoming NFL draft. "It's something that we've been looking at for years," he said. "Yeah, I have no problems with that. It's certainly feasible." The team currently holds the No. 6 overall pick.
Alternatively, the team could pursue an established quarterback in free agency. The upcoming free-agent class could include the Tennessee Titans' Ryan Tannehill, the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees, and the New England Patriots' Tom Brady among others. The idea of Brady leaving the Patriots has gained traction this offseason, though it remains unclear whether the six-time champion will seriously consider the Chargers as his next destination.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH