As the legal tampering period kicks off at noon, would fully expect the Colts to pursue former Chargers’ QB Philip Rivers, though Indianapolis also will look at other QB options.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2020
Of course, this latest report isn’t exactly ‘breaking news’, as the Colts have been linked to Rivers by many media sources—even as early as January of the New Year.
The 17-year veteran quarterback is coming off a down season for the Los Angeles Chargers in which he completed 390 of 591 passes (66.0%) for 4,615 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, and a passer rating of 88.5 in all 16 starts.
Now 38 years old, Rivers isn’t one of the league’s best quarterbacks anymore, but the veteran gunslinger could be an upgrade to Colts incumbent starter Jacoby Brissett—as he actually shows a willingness to “let it fly” downfield and generate big plays.
With a strong offensive line and a reunion with his former offensive coordinator (now Colts head coach) Frank Reich, Rivers could be poised for a bit of a rebound season in Indianapolis.
That being said, while the fiery field general would make the Colts more competitive in 2020, he’s still a stopgap ‘bridge’ starting quarterback—as an answer for the position for no more than two seasons tops. [His lack of mobility is also somewhat concerning.]
The Colts would be prudent to draft a top rookie quarterback, say Utah State’s Jordan Love, to groom behind him as his long-term successor in combination—sooner rather than later.
Having made 224 consecutive career starts, Rivers brings a wealth of knowledge and has played in a lot of big games. He could provide veteran leadership, a reliable soundboard, and a steadying film room/practice habits presence for any young quarterback.
Now in the twilight of his playing career, it’s also a role that Rivers would probably be much more receptive to—knowing full well that he can’t realistically play forever.
The only issue is that the Colts could get caught very soon down the road if they aren’t already looking for a contingency plan to succeed him—in tandem.
As such, Rivers could make the Colts more competitive in the short-term but is still not the long-term answer for Indianapolis—and that’s okay, if the franchise already understands that when initially signing him.
From that perspective, signing the veteran quarterback makes sense—although the Colts will presumably be connected to a handful of big names this time of year, with their starting quarterback position remaining a critical team need.