The Los Angeles Chargers announced on Monday that they will be taking their franchise in a new direction, as they have agreed with Philip Rivers to mutually part ways. Rivers, who has spent all 16 seasons with the Chargers, struggled at the end of last season. He completed 66 percent of his passes for 4,615 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions as Los Angeles finished in last place in the AFC West with a 5-11 record.
A change under center was rumored to be on the horizon, and the big-armed quarterback will now turn his attention to looking for a new NFL home. According to the team, both Rivers and the Chargers believe that moving on is in each party's best interest.
"After stepping back a bit from last season, we reconnected with Philip and his representatives to look at how 2019 played out, assess our future goals, evaluate the current state of the roster and see if there was a path forward that made sense for both parties," said General Manager Tom Telesco in a statement. "As we talked through various scenarios, it became apparent that it would be best for Philip and the Chargers to turn the page on what has truly been a remarkable run."
"We agreed that making this decision well before free agency would allow everyone to put themselves in the best position for success in 2020. I've said before that Philip can still compete at a top-starter level and, in a perfect world, number 17 is your quarterback forever. Obviously, we live in an imperfect world where the only constant is change. I think Philip's tremendous perspective, both when it comes to football and when it comes to life, helped lend clarity to a very complex situation."
Rivers was originally drafted by the New York Giants with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, but he was traded to the Chargers for Eli Manning. He leaves Los Angeles holding dozens of franchise records, including games played, wins and pass completions.
Rivers made eight Pro Bowls during his time with the Chargers. His streak of 224 consecutive starts is a franchise-best and the third-longest since 1970, trailing Brett Favre (297) and Bruce Matthews (229). In 2014, Rivers became the first player in NFL history to post five straight games with a passer rating of at least 120 in a single season. Four years later, he posted the most consecutive completions in NFL history, connecting on 25-straight attempts in a 35-point home win over the Arizona Cardinals.
While he's now 38-years-old, there will certainly be a market for Rivers. In 228 career games, he has passed for 59,271 yards, 397 touchdowns, and 198 interceptions.