Roughly a month before he's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, the longtime Bolts quarterback announced Monday in a joint statement with the team that both sides will go their separate ways in 2020.
So while L.A. believes "in a perfect world, No. 17 is your quarterback forever," the 38-year-old Rivers is now set to throw passes elsewhere for the first time in his NFL career.
Where, exactly, could the eight-time Pro Bowler be headed?
Here are five of the most logical landing spots for Rivers, who will officially be free to join another team on March 18:
The tone of Rivers' departure doesn't suggest the former Comeback Player of the Year is out to drive a stake of revenge into the Chargers, but the Raiders are in such a different state right now -- literally -- that this kind of move to a division rival wouldn't be as crazy as it sounds. Jon Gruden is exactly the type of coach who'd be game for giving Rivers another go at a starting job (presuming, of course, the Raiders either find a trade partner for Derek Carr or save $13.6 million in 2020 by outright cutting him). His Josh Jacobs-fueled offense would take pressure off Rivers' arm. And both sides would benefit from the added limelight of Vegas, which will be hungry for a big name under center. Can't you just see the mic'd-up, trash-talking dynamism of the Gruden-Rivers connection?
You might be thinking that the last thing Carolina's new, young coaching regime wants to do is replace one aging, injured QB with an older, aging QB as it kicks off a rebuild. But who's more likely to find value in being a "bridge" at this point in his career: Rivers, who played college ball in North Carolina and might be eyeing retirement soon, or a 30-year-old Cam Newton, to the next generation of QBs? Swapping Rivers for Newton would enable new coach Matt Rhule to open his NFL tenure with one of the most experienced arms in the league, albeit until the inevitable franchise youngster is ready, while Rivers would get a chance to return to a beloved, familiar area and lean on talents like Christian McCaffrey.
If Rivers is looking to go from tired castoff to local hero in a heartbeat, he should have Chicago atop his wish list. Allen Robinson and utility man Tarik Cohen, among them. The real reason this could work, though, is the presence of the Bears' current QB, Mitchell Trubisky -- a former first-rounder almost everyone knows is replaceable, even if they won't outwardly admit it. Under new QBs coach John DeFilippo, who'd be pumped to let Rivers let it rip, the ex-Chargers vet would have a potential path back to a semi-permanent starting gig, not to mention the playoffs.the Bears were a potential area of interest for No. 17 back in November, mainly because of their loaded defense and some of the playmakers in Matt Nagy's offense -- wide receiver
These rumors have already gotten underway because of Rivers Carson Palmer in Arizona. Arians likes to chuck it, and so does Rivers. Tampa's WRs would be a big draw as well.this offseason, with La Canfora noting recently there's been "a lot of buzz" about Tampa Bay as the QB's next NFL home. And it's not hard to connect the dots. Firstly, there's probably no better place for Rivers to transition into retirement. Play a season or three in warm weather before retiring into the literal sunset? His family might sign him up themselves. Football-wise, you'd think Bruce Arians might prefer not to go from a 26-year-old to 38-year-old at QB, but then you only have to remember this is Bruce Arians we're talking about -- the guy who thrived by resurrecting a retired
And here's the one that makes all too much sense. Colts fans might not get excited about adding a graying Philip Rivers, but coach Frank Reich almost assuredly sees things differently. Some of the best years of Rivers' career came when Reich was the Chargers' QBs coach and offensive coordinator, so the two have an incredible, even if short-lived, history together. Current Colts QBs coach Nick Sirianni? He was also on staff with the Chargers during those years. Indy should be looking to upgrade, or at least infuse competition for, Jacoby Brissett, and adding Rivers wouldn't preclude them from also drafting for the future at the position. If Reich and Rivers want to team up for even one or two years, they'd have the chemistry -- and surrounding talent -- to not only help the Colts compete for playoff runs but then send Rivers off when Indy is ready to turn the keys over to its next franchise QB.