The Philip Rivers Rumor and a Possible Browns/Eagles Swap Meet
It’s that season again when NFL football discussions are filled with speculation rather than concrete facts. It’s a time when the word “if” takes center stage.
We anticipate it every year like a leisurely approaching train, but there’s no avoiding it—it’s now an integral part of the offseason ritual.
As the NFL Draft approaches, many quarterback rumors circulate throughout the league.
Let’s examine which ones might stay afloat and which will likely fade away.
Rivers to Tennessee?
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the possibility of Philip Rivers becoming a free agent when his contract expires following this season since Rivers has expressed disinterest in wanting to move to the city of Angels if the Chargers don’t stay put in San Diego.
The likelihood of this occurring is gaining traction, and it’s become more reality than a fantasy that the Chargers may be one of two teams most likely to move to LA.
Amid this, the rumors persist of a trade between San Diego and Tennessee because of the mutual interests and the Chargers’ desire to get something for Rivers if he is indeed going to wait to become a free agent anyhow.
Rivers’ link to Tennessee can be briefly explained:
Former offensive coordinator in San Diego, Ken Whisenhunt, now serves as the head coach for the Titans.
This connection makes the prospect of Rivers joining the Titans entirely plausible, especially given the team’s capacity to absorb his 2015 cap hit, which is $17 million.
As per sportrac.com, Tennessee boasts the fifth-highest available cap space in the NFL, approximately $26 million.
This positions them well to absorb the short-term financial impact and potentially negotiate a long-term agreement if an immediate resolution isn’t reached.
Taking into account the fact that Nashville is only 250 miles from Rivers’ hometown of Decatur, GA, much closer than San Diego, it becomes clear why this deal could be a viable option.
However, there are several reasons why it’s likely not to happen.
The notion of Rivers being traded solely for the #2 pick in the 2015 NFL draft (where Tennessee is currently positioned) is a bit of a stretch.
It’s crucial to consider the weighted value of the #2 overall pick in the draft.
For a deal to be mutually beneficial, there would likely need to be additional compensation or players included.
If we look at the RG III trade in the 2012 NFL Draft as a precedent, it sets a high bar for any team trying to trade into that spot.
The Redskins established the value of that pick as three 1st rounders (2012, 2013, and 2014) along with a 2nd round pick (2012) to acquire RG III.
For this deal to be viable for San Diego, Tennessee would likely need to offer more than just the 2nd pick.
The Chargers need a running back after the departure of Ryan Matthews to the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason.
This departure has resulted in a decrease in productivity in the Chargers’ running game.
Therefore, it’s reasonable to anticipate the Chargers targeting a running back early if and when this trade scenario transitions from a mere dream into reality.
Tennessee might be enticed by the immediate improvement Rivers could bring at the QB position, especially after a 2-14 season last year.
However, there are compelling reasons for the Titans to consider staying put.
Marcus Mariota shows immense promise. While he will require time to adapt to the NFL system, he possesses all the necessary skills to succeed and make a smooth transition.
In this light, there’s no pressing need to trade away the pick.
Additionally, this approach could buy the coaching staff a year or two while the young quarterback develops and the organization builds a team around him.
This long-term perspective is a crucial factor that should not be underestimated.
It may not follow the traditional playbook, but it’s a viable approach if the Titans exhibit discipline and patience—qualities not always guaranteed in the NFL.
The Titans might receive a more appealing offer from a team in a stronger position than San Diego, allowing them to trade back and still secure the player they covet.
Given Mariota’s talent, it’s evident that multiple teams are interested, further diminishing the likelihood of a Rivers-to-Tennessee scenario.
Browns, Eagles Swap Meet?
Before the trade that sent former St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Nick Foles, the Cleveland Browns reportedly expressed interest, offering a 1st round pick (#19) for the quarterback.
However, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher turned down the offer, stating that he preferred a veteran QB in return.
Eventually, they secured Nick Foles in a trade, believing him to be the seasoned quarterback they sought.
This brings us to the current rumor circulating, which continues to connect Sam Bradford to the Cleveland Browns.
The Cleveland Browns have had a bustling offseason in the quarterback department.
By allowing Tyler Thigpen and Brian Hoyer to become free agents, the Browns were left with only Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw on the roster.
Currently, Manziel is completing a rehab program to address some alcohol-related issues, while Shaw is a young player with limited practice and game experience.
The interest in a quarterback like Bradford is understandable, but the previous offer didn’t meet the mark.
Consequently, the Browns took a different approach and signed veteran QB Josh McCown.
They also added depth by bringing in experienced quarterbacks like Thaddeus Lewis and now await Manziel’s return to full strength.
These are all positive indicators. However, it’s important to note that the Browns still consider Mariota in the draft.
Even after drafting Johnny Manziel, who was initially seen as their franchise quarterback, the Browns continue to cycle through quarterbacks rather than building a team around one.
This isn’t to say they won’t eventually find their quarterback, but it is somewhat unconventional how they’ve explored various avenues in their pursuit of success at this position.
Mariota brings a high level of athleticism and presents a contrast to Johnny Manziel both on and off the field.
Beyond their physical abilities, Mariota is perceived as more dependable to be the face of a franchise.
It’s not surprising that Cleveland GM Ray Farmer is thoroughly researching Mariota.
With two first-round picks at #19 and #12, the Browns would have multiple chances to acquire him if he fell unexpectedly.
On the other hand, if the trade were to send Johnny Football to Philadelphia, Manziel would finally reunite with Head Coach Chip Kelly, who had recruited Manziel during his time at Oregon, describing Manziel’s decision to switch to A&M as “heartbreaking.”
Manziel’s playing style would be well-suited for Chip Kelly’s system. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a system better tailored to Manziel’s strengths.
This leads to the question: Is Chip Kelly biding his time until the draft to seize a new opportunity?
Or could all these rumors be intended as distractions to divert attention from the player that Philadelphia or Cleveland truly covets?
If you worry about what your team might do, take comfort in the fact that these trade speculations seldom come to fruition.
There are too many variables at play, and most teams tend to avoid making big moves on draft day, considering the mixed track record of such endeavors in the league.