Former Chargers Great Says Philip Rivers Wants Another Shot At NFL: 3 Teams Who Could Make Sense

Philip Rivers
Denny Medley-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, Mason Rudolph is expected to become the 58th different NFL starting quarterback during the 2023 season. As teams experience more and more injuries at the most important position in football, we’re seeing veterans like Joe Flacco suddenly thrust into a starting role late in the year. What about Philip Rivers?

Could the 42-year-old eight-time Pro Bowl QB still sling it?

Retired Los Angeles Chargers great Shawne Merriman spoke to TMZ earlier this month, where the topic of his former teammate came up. In doing so, Merriman dropped several fascinating comments regarding Rivers.

“I can tell you, Phil still wants to play. That’s why he hasn’t retired. I still think Philip can play another year or two if a team gets down here in the playoffs and they need a quarterback to come off the street. Phil can do it.”

Shawne Merriman on Philip Rivers

The last time Rivers put on the cleats came on Jan. 9, 2021, in a three-point Wild Card loss to the Buffalo Bills. But it’s not like he had a bad final season with Indianapolis.

  • 68% comp rate, 4,169 passing yards, 24 TD, 11 INT – 11-5 W/L

Of course, that was nearly three years ago now. Remember, Deshaun Watson sat for a full 700 days between starts with the Texans and Browns and completed just 54 percent of his passes in his return.

Yet, Tom Brady played until he was 45, and the eye test suggests he could have played at least another year, if not longer. Who’s to say Rivers doesn’t still have what it takes too? As improbable as it may be, all Rivers needs is one team to say yes.

We’ve seen how many different quarterbacks teams have turned to this season. Can the New York Jets honestly look back and say they have no regrets about not adding another player, perhaps even Flacco, or even an experienced hand like Rivers?

It felt like the right call to stick with Zach Wilson at the time, but not every team has what they feel is a playoff-ready roster, plus a top prospect waiting in the wings as they had with the former No. 2 overall pick.

The truth is, teams won’t want to start the year with Rivers as the top option at QB. Hitching your cart to a 42-year-old QB who hasn’t played in three years isn’t a recipe for success.

Yet, what if a team is ready to make a playoff run yet feels their backup isn’t capable of rattling off wins in the postseason? Why not give Rivers a call at that point? Here are three teams who might be better off turning to Rivers in a pinch.

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Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger might get a bit jealous if the Steelers turn to a basically retired QB without giving Big Ben a call, and if Pittsburgh were serious about such a scenario, they probably would. Yet, the Steelers are set to start their third different QB this year. The defense has held up their end up the bargain, but QB play has fallen off a cliff since Roethlisberger stepped away from Heinz Field with the arrival of Kenny Pickett.

Rivers wouldn’t have a chance of stealing Pickett’s job. But since the young QB hasn’t convinced everyone he’s the franchise solution yet, having another option with 240 NFL starts to his name wouldn’t be a terrible backup plan with the postseason always in play for the Steelers.

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Los Angeles Chargers

The early returns of the Easton Stick era weren’t pretty. While the Chargers are eliminated from playoff contention now, what if they had a few more wins and suddenly found themselves reliant on Stick to salvage the season?

Will Grier has since been added to the roster too, but again, even though he’d be a bit rusty, why not kick the tires on an old Chargers legend like Rivers? If there’s a legitimate interest, it would, at the very least, be a fun story for everyone involved. Worst case scenario, you return to the backup plan, but best-case scenario, you suddenly sell tons of jerseys again and get back into the playoff race, in a different reality, of course.

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New York Jets

The Jets already have one aging gunslinger signing up for one last shot at another Super Bowl. Why not double down? Let’s be honest: veterans on the wrong side of 30 (40 in their case) have a stronger tendency to break down, especially behind the Jets’ offensive line.

If the Jets aren’t sold on Wilson for the future and don’t want to risk putting their playoff hopes in the hands of a rookie next year, bringing in an experienced vet like Rivers isn’t the worst idea ever as a backup plan.

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