According to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, the Indianapolis Colts signing Los Angeles Chargers free agent quarterback Philip Rivers is “all but done”—meaning things could be finalized shortly here if his source is indeed accurate:
Just texted with a #Colts source who said Philip Rivers deal is "all but done".— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 17, 2020
Even after dealing for San Francisco 49ers prized defensive tackle DeForest Buckner yesterday and providing him a lucrative 4-year, $84 million contract extension, the Colts still have a projected $45.6 million of cap space to get any deal done for a quarterback.
The Chargers Rivers and New England Patriots Tom Brady remain the top veteran free agent options, but the Colts have been heavily linked to Rivers since early January.
The 38 year old Rivers is coming off a season for the 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—making all 16 starts.
The 8x Pro Bowler has made 224 consecutive career starts since 2006—all with the Bolts.
Of course, the Colts and Rivers are already familiar with one another and not just because Rivers’ Chargers teams were a thorn in Indy’s side during the ‘Peyton Manning era’ postseason years, but because head coach Frank Reich was previously Rivers’ offensive coordinator in San Diego. That gives him a ‘leg up’ in learning Reich’s offensive system.
Rivers could provide a veteran upgrade—or at least some serious competition to Colts incumbent starter Jacoby Brissett.
Even though the 17-year pro is no longer one of the game’s top quarterbacks (and probably lost some zip on his ‘best fastball’), the veteran gunslinger isn’t afraid to throw the ball downfield and generate big plays.
Rivers also has the timing and anticipation to consistently hit open reads. For perspective, Rivers finished with the NFL’s 10th best completion percentage last season at 66.0%.
With their big addition of Buckner yesterday, the Colts leadership may believe that they are closer to seriously contending than some may have you think.
Rivers could certainly help the Colts achieve that next goal of getting into the postseason and making some noise—as the fiery field general has played in a lot of big games.
Still, he’s nothing more than a 1-2 year veteran stopgap.
Perhaps the Colts would still look to draft a developmental quarterback to groom behind him as well come late April.
Either way, a late career ‘Rivers to Colts marriage’ appears to be inching closer to the finish line for both parties.