Chargers Week 1 Starting QB: Who Will Replace Philip Rivers?
Los Angeles Chargers fans have been pondering the team’s future for two months now. A late-season slide by longtime quarterback Philip Rivers demanded the franchise rethink their options under center.
Now, they’ve officially made a decision.
Per reports, the Chargers and Rivers have “mutually” agreed to part ways, guaranteeing the Bolts will have a new passer under center full-time for the first time since Drew Brees ran the show in 2005.
Next up is Rivers deciding whether he’ll retire or latch on with a different contender. Chargers fans will also be left wondering if LA can withstand the loss of a seasoned veteran and get back to the title aspirations this team had just two seasons ago.
Whether they can or not, the Chargers first need to figure out who will be their quarterback in 2020. The top NFL betting sites are right there with them, too, as BetOnline and other online sportsbooks have offered odds for who will start under center for LA next year.
Here’s a rundown of each contender for Philip Rivers replacement QB, along with their odds.
Tyrod Taylor (+150)
Taylor helped get the Buffalo Bills back to the playoffs a couple of years ago before entering 2018 as a lame duck starter with the Cleveland Browns. He’s a perfectly capable dual-threat passer that deserves to start, and he’s on LA’s roster going into 2020.
The Bolts will probably draft a young quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft, but Taylor is a nice stop-gap option that can help them win next year and also help the incoming prospect.
He makes a lot of sense as the odds-on favorite to replace Philip Rivers next year.
Justin Herbert (+500)
If you think the Chargers just punt the 2020 NFL season and go full bore with a rookie (and/or you don’t think they hold onto Taylor), you can give Oregon passer Justin Herbert a look.
He makes sense as the guy they’d end up targeting in the first round, seeing as they own the 6th overall pick. Tua Tagovaiola will probably be gone by then, so barring the Chargers trading up in the draft, they could stand pat and take Herbert.
A dual-threat option with considerable upside, Herbert is risky but offers a high ceiling in today’s modern RPO-infested game.
Teddy Bridgewater (+600)
Bridgewater has been rather mum about his future, as he really likes playing in New Orleans and would probably love Drew Brees to retire. Considering Brees is likely to return for at least the 2020 season, though, it’s quite possible he is playing somewhere else next year.
After proving his worth while going undefeated as a starter in 2019 while Brees missed time with a thumb injury, Bridgewater could break the bank on the open market. The problem is not everyone that needs a quarterback upgrade will be enamored with him to the point of forking over major cash.
I’d put LA in that grouping, as Tyrod Taylor is already on the books, and the gap between these two players isn’t very wide.
Tom Brady (+600)
This is interesting, just because Tom Brady remains a free agent, and there has been a lot of buzz about him wanting to “return home” to California.
I don’t think the odds are fat enough to roll the dice on a 42-year-old leaving behind the New England Patriots, but it’s not that crazy. Obviously, Brady going back to California is a big selling point, but the Bolts are also loaded on both sides of the ball.
Could LA be a quarterback upgrade away from making a title run? Certainly. But considering his age and the weak numbers he produced in 2019, it’s debatable Brady isn’t even a big upgrade at this stage of his career.
Tua Tagovailoa (+600)
If the Bolts can land the former #1 overall quarterback prospect, by all means, they should do it. Unfortunately, it’d require them giving up quite a bit of draft capital to move past the Miami Dolphins.
It’s not impossible, but do the Chargers really want to mortgage their future when they could find a viable prospect where they stand at the six spot? Tua is in play. He just isn’t a given.
Jameis Winston (+1200)
There are signs already indicating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will pay Jameis Winston to stay in town. Yes, he just tossed 30 interceptions, but he also put up over 5,000 passing yards and 33 scores.
Winston has glaring flaws, but he’s still a franchise quarterback and would be returning to a great system. The Bolts are also moving on from Rivers due to his mind-boggling turnovers.
Paying out the nose to bring in a turnover machine that has a checkered history doesn’t make a ton of sense. That said, Winston is tentatively expected to hit free agency, and the connection isn’t impossible.
Marcus Mariota (+1200)
Mariota won’t have people racing to pay him money after he flopped as the top pick in Tennessee. Consistency and health issues held him back throughout his career, while a seemingly inferior talent in Ryan Tannehill did far better with his Titans than he ever could.
None of that is very encouraging, so Mariota seems more like a reclamation project for a team that already has an established starter under center. The Chargers don’t look like a great fit.
Jordan Love (+1600)
Should the Chargers reach for Love at the 6th spot, trade down, or land him in round two, he could be in play. My guess, however, is the Bolts would value Tua and Herbert more, or they’ll settle on a free agent.
That said, there has been speculation that the Chargers really like Love and could make him their next franchise passer. I’m not seeing it, however.
Andy Dalton (+1800)
Dalton is a stop-gap at best right now. He flamed out with the Cincinnati Bengals after years of injuries and pedestrian production. Dalton can still play, but he’s never been a high-level winner, nor has he exhibited elite arm talent.
The Chargers would be scraping the bottom of the barrel here. This move would require them getting Dalton at a cheap rate and ditching Tyrod Taylor. Considering Dalton isn’t for sure the better quarterback, it seems like a bold move.
Jake Fromm (+1800)
This is an option in the draft if the Bolts prefer to trade down or wait until after the first round to take their future franchise passer. Honestly, all bets are off when it comes to the draft, as we still need to work through a lot of smoke to figure out what all 32 teams want to do.
Fromm is not an elite quarterback prospect, but he’s a good game-manager that has fared well against elite competition. Perhaps the Bolts like that and make him a value day two draft choice.
Dak Prescott (+2500)
We’re starting to get ambitious here. Prescott is absurdly underrated and would be quite the get, but there is just no way Dallas lets him walk away.
Prescott reportedly turned down a big offer from the Cowboys already, which suggests he knows his value and will make Dallas work for it to retain him. They can always tag him, though, so it’d take a miracle for him to fully break free and get to LA.
Ryan Tannehill (+2500)
Tannehill is an interesting option in the sense that he did just prove himself in leading the Titans to the AFC title game. In fact, had he played a full season, the Comeback Player of the Year award winner may have been a viable runner-up to Lamar Jackson in the NFL MVP race.
Some say he is, regardless.
Either way, Tannehill can still ball, and he’ll either return to the Titans or cash in with a fat contract elsewhere. If the Chargers drop Taylor, it’s not crazy to think they go with Tannehill instead.
Colin Kaepernick (+10000)
Kaepernick bungled his NFL tryout, and indications from that workout are that he’s viewed as a pedestrian talent at this point. He can still play and is easily better than most of the backups in the league, but he’s placed himself and his ongoing social agenda above any prospective team.
I’d love to see Kaepernick return to the league, but he priced himself out of the XFL, and I’d bet that’s the case with the NFL, too. The Chargers shouldn’t be so arrogant to not even consider kicking his tires, but the guy hasn’t played a down since 2016. His NFL story is surely over.
Eli Manning (+50000)
Eli Manning is your last betting option to play for the Chargers in 2020, but he’s a lost cause as a bet.
Manning retired as a member of the New York Giants recently, partially because he probably realized he’s done as a player, but also because he thought it was important to only play for one NFL franchise.
It’d be funny to see Manning come full circle and play for the organization he so desperately wanted to avoid back when he was drafted, but it simply isn’t going to happen.
I find it odd that Cam Newton isn’t an option here. There are other quarterbacks like Josh Rosen that could be trade bait at some point, too.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a pretty solid list, and a lot of these options are viable. The Chargers will have their work cut out for them narrowing things down, though.
We know for sure Rivers won’t be under center in 2020. Bettors can start there. And since Newton isn’t even being offered as an option, I can only work with what is realistically within reach.
Tyrod Taylor seems like a safe play at +150, just because he’s honestly a pretty good stop-gap option, he knows the LA system, and he’s on the roster.
Everyone else here is certainly viable, but what makes more sense than anything is the Chargers go into 2020 with Taylor ready to start week 1, and he later gives way to whatever prospect they draft later in the season.
That’s the wager I’d place at the top NFL betting sites if I was looking to bet on Philip Rivers’ 2020 replacement right now.