Philip Rivers didn't take long to find his next destination, signing a deal with the Indianapolis Colts after 16 seasons as the franchise quarterback of the Los Angeles Chargers. Rivers signed a one-year, $25 million deal with Indianapolis in the hopes of revitalizing his career in his late 30s.
It appeared not many teams were courting Rivers, especially once it became clear the Tom Brady sweepstakes came down to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chargers, but apparently that wasn't much of a problem. The Colts were an easy choice for Rivers, based on the one element he was looking for with his next team.
"The big part of Philip being here is Anthony Castonzo. Quenton Nelson," Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said in a conference call Monday, referring to the Colts offensive line (via NFL.com). "Ryan Kelly. Braden Smith. Mark Glowinski. Those guys are studs"
"That's something that he just kept mentioning after we signed him of how valuable those guys were to him."
In his final season with the Chargers, Rivers completed 66% of his passes for 4,615 yards with 23 touchdowns and he played all 16 games for the 14th consecutive season. While Rivers finished fourth in the NFL in passing yards, he threw the third-most interceptions (20) and had an 88.5 passer rating. His touchdown percentage of 3.9 was his lowest since becoming the Chargers starting quarterback in 2006 and his adjusted net yards gained per pass attempt (7.1) was his lowest since 2012.
Rivers showing signs of decline at age 38 plays a factor here, but his offensive line in Los Angeles was nothing to write home about. The Chargers tackle combination of Trent Scott and Sam Tevi allowed 88 pressures in 2019, which was the second most in the NFL (per Pro Football Focus). While Rivers was sacked just 34 times, he was under constant duress all year.
The Colts offensive line is one of the best pass-blocking units in the NFL, allowing just 32 sacks on the year (tied for ninth in the league) and having all five starters play over 1,000 snaps in 2019. Continuity was key for Rivers in choosing Indianapolis, which also has Sirianni (who spent five seasons as an offensive assistant with the Chargers) and head coach Frank Reich spent three years in San Diego with Rivers.
The situation was perfect for Rivers and the Colts, a franchise that badly needed an upgrade at quarterback. Even if the pairing is only for a year, the Colts are banking on Rivers returning to his Pro Bowl form and leading Indianapolis back to the playoffs.