For those who missed it, the 38-year-old quarterback confirmed to ESPN on Sunday morning that he and his family permanently moved from San Diego to Florida to be closer to relatives. He then added, "What this means football-wise is to be determined but it was time for us to move back closer to home."
OK, I'm trying to connect the dots here ... Moving across the country, Rivers' emotional press conference after the Chargers' regular-season finale and Bolts GM Tom Telesco saying the team will "look at every position" this offseason -- all of this leaves reason to wonder if Rivers will be a Charger in 2020 or on another team. The only clear thing is he wants to play next season.
Rivers is set to become a free agent in March, and there are some teams that would suit Rivers -- and clubs that Rivers would suit. Below, I list four possible landing spots for Rivers, from most likely to least likely.
1) TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Remember what Bruce Arians did with the aging Carson Palmer in Arizona? Palmer played some of the best football of his career and helped the Cardinals go on a deep postseason run in 2015. This is exactly what I envision for Arians and Rivers in Tampa. Arians wants a veteran quarterback who's competitive and not afraid to take chances. But one who doesn't throw 30 interceptions (maybe just 20). Tampa Bay's offense makes a lot of sense for the veteran passer. He had an uber-talented receiving corps with the Chargers, and that's exactly what he'd get in Tampa with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and tight end O.J. Howard. Bring in a running back in free agency or the draft, and this unit looks poised to make some magic. Not to mention, Tampa is now close to home.
2) TENNESSEE TITANS: I could see Rivers or Tom Brady heading to Tennessee this offseason. At this point in their respective careers, Rivers and Brady want to do one thing: hoist the Lombardi Trophy. (Obviously, Rivers is a bit more desperate on that front than his six-time champion counterpart.) If the Titans let Ryan Tannehill hit the market in March, they'll have to fill a void. Rivers would be silly to not consider joining the Titans, who were on the cusp of a Super Bowl appearance this season. They have an enticing group of young receivers, and the hottest running back in the game (they HAVE to re-sign him, right?!). Plus, Mike Vrabel's defense is as good as it's ever been and should give next year's offense plenty of opportunities.
3) CAROLINA PANTHERS: I can imagine the Matt Rhule-Philip Rivers marriage coming together over a nice free agency dinner that ends in contract negotiations. Rhule's system is very similar to the one Rivers has played in with the Chargers, and I could see the veteran QB having some input. Like the Titans, the Panthers have a young nucleus of offensive weapons, and Rivers wouldn't have to shoulder the load, with Offensive Player of the Year candidate Christian McCaffrey getting a majority of the attention.
4) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: I'm on the fence about Rivers heading to Indianapolis, because this fit isn't quite as good for Rivers as the first three. Jacoby Brissett is under contract for another year -- although the Colts aren't breaking the bank with his deal -- but Indy does have the most cap space in the NFL heading into this offseason, per Over The Cap. So there is room to bring Rivers in. And while Rivers is a traditional pro-style quarterback, Frank Reich has proven that he can cater his system to a quarterback's strengths. Not to mention, playing behind this Colts offensive line is a dream for any quarterback, let alone a guy who's pushing 40.