If LaDainian Tomlinson ran the Chargers, he'd trade away the team's best player.
Tomlinson, the former Chargers running back and league MVP, revealed after the Chargers' catastrophic collapse against the Saints why he's rooting for Philip Rivers to leave San Diego via a trade. For Tomlinson, it comes down to not wasting the last few years that Rivers still has left in him.
That's why he wants Rivers to land with a contender.
"Let's just call it what it is," Tomlinson said on NFL Network. "The Chargers are rebuilding right now, OK? They're rebuilding, guys. And Philip only has about three or four years left. If you keep him there during this rebuilding process, you just wasted his entire career. He will have no chance to win.
"So the best thing to do, possibly, is trade him. Get something for him right now. Trade him to a contender and let this man get a chance to win a championship. That way you still get something for him."
As Deion Sanders immediately noted, trading away Rivers wouldn't exactly be easy. For one, the Chargers would need to find a contender lacking a quarterback -- like the Vikings after they lost Teddy Bridgewater to a severe injury. Then, they'd need to find a team that would be willing to give up a decent draft pick in exchange for a 34-year-old quarterback.
It's also worth noting that the team still has no plan to survive a post-Rivers reality.
So no, a trade doesn't appear to be likely. And keep in mind, the Chargers should actually be 4-0, but they've blown three games -- all in the most Chargers way ever -- and now sit at 1-3. Without Rivers, they'd probably be winless. He ranks fifth in passer rating (104.5), eighth in yards per attempt (7.82) and completion percentage (67.6), and seventh in touchdowns (7). Once again, Rivers is among the league's best.
But he and the Chargers haven't sniffed the postseason since 2013. They haven't pulled off a double-digit win season since 2009, when Tomlinson still lined up behind Rivers in the backfield.
So in that sense, Tomlinson is right. The Chargers have completely wasted the best years of one of the top quarterbacks in the game.