According to head coach Frank Reich (via a Zoom call with the Indianapolis media), he believes that Indianapolis Colts starting veteran quarterback Philip Rivers’ intent is to play multiple years with his new team:
Frank Reich: "I can just tell you I really believe it's Philip (Rivers') intent to play multiple years (with the Colts) ... I'm very optimistic it will be a multiple year thing."— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) May 18, 2020
Rivers on a 1-year, $25 million deal entering this season.
Reich made the caveat that “things will still have to play out on the field”, but it does appear that the Colts are hoping that Rivers is potentially more than just simply a one year starting stop gap.
This is even after Rivers recently announced that he has already been hired as the head football coach in-waiting at St. Michael Catholic High School in Fairhope, Alabama—when he finally hangs up his football cleats for good.
While such a set next career stop could push Rivers a little closer to retirement next offseason, it doesn’t appear that the Colts are viewing the decision as him shutting the door on potentially another year in Indianapolis—by any means at this time.
The 38 year old quarterback signed a 1-year, $25 million deal earlier this offseason with the Colts and is coming off a season where he threw for just 23 touchdowns to 20 interceptions in all 16 starts for the Los Angeles Chargers.
The hope is that by being reunited with his former offensive coordinator Frank Reich and passing behind a strong Colts offensive line with solid receiving options (including Pro Bowlers T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle, as well as big bodied rookie Michael Pittman Jr.), that Rivers can regain his 2018 form, where he threw for 32 touchdowns to 12 interceptions.
Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni even stated last week that some of Rivers’ interceptions last season were simply a byproduct of playing from behind—and that he didn’t see any drop off in his actual play in 2019.
The Colts will also not be solely leaning on the 18-year veteran offensively—who probably can’t carry an offense quite like he used to in his prime. Rather, the Colts now have a “1-1” power running game punch with last year’s 1,000 yard rusher Marlon Mack and highly touted second round pick Jonathan Taylor to lessen Rivers’ workload as two bonafide bellcows.
To Rivers’ credit, despite having yet to move to Indianapolis and been forced to conduct his offseason workouts virtually with his new team, the fiery field general has already “been very vocal” during remote meetings and has made his veteran presence felt:
Reich says Rivers has been “very vocal” during the virtual meetings, especially with the QBs. He isn’t shy about suggesting changes, lingo tweaks, etc.— Andrew Walker (@AWalkerColts) May 18, 2020
An extra year of Rivers beyond 2020 also makes sense for the Colts’ possible timeline too.
Their new developmental quarterback of the future, rookie 4th round pick Jacob Eason, was only a 2-year starter at both Georgia and Washington and could probably use the additional year of seasoning and polish—if he proves to even have the potential to be the long-term answer at the Colts’ starting quarterback position.
Regardless, while Rivers may have the current intent to play multiple years for the Colts, a lot of it will be dictated by his actual play on the field next season first and foremost—which will keep that door potentially open.
That being said, both sides seem to initially envision this as a possible fruitful multi-year marriage.