Colts Expected to Pursue Philip Rivers in Free Agency
Jason B. Hirschhorn
As the Los Angeles Chargers check out the rookie quarterbacks at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, their former starter could wind up in the same location sometime next month. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Indianapolis Colts plan to make a serious push to sign Philip Rivers once the free-agency period opens on March 18.
"[Rivers] does not want to accept retirement at this point," Rapoport said Wednesday. "He said very clearly he wants to play for two more years. And there is a team right here in Indianapolis with a very, very good offensive line -- easily the best offensive line Rivers has ever played for -- who's ready to win now with a great young defense, who does have interest in Philip Rivers. And that's the Colts. And that does seem like the most likely option.
"And from other opponents, people I've spoken to here, there are many, many people who think Philip Rivers is going to ultimately end up as a member of the Colts."
Connecting Rivers to the Colts makes sense on several levels. The team dealt with the shocking retirement of Andrew Luck last August, forcing backup Jacoby Brissett into the starting role. Though Brissett played admirably overall considering the sudden promotion, he faltered down the stretch, contributing to Indianapolis missing the playoffs. Though Rivers' play slipped last year, he could realistically provide an upgrade at the position if given the proper supporting cast.
Additionally, head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni each spent several years in San Diego working directly with Rivers. Reich and Sirianni also employ an offensive scheme similar to the one they ran with the Chargers. Accordingly, Indianapolis could integrate Rivers more quickly and mitigate some of the issues that typically accompany a change behind center.
Rivers will likely garner interest from other teams as well, and one could make an offer too compelling for him to pass. Still, given his connections to the Colts and the talent they can place around him, Rivers might have a hard time turning them down.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH