After 16 seasons, the Los Angeles Chargers recently parted ways with longtime quarterback Phillip Rivers.
Rivers has accomplished a lot during his time in the NFL.
No one would blame him if he decided to call it a career.
However, almost as soon as he was released, Rivers made it known that he wanted to keep playing.
It didn’t take long for a number of teams to express interest in acquiring the eight-time Pro Bowler.
One of the teams on the apparent short list is the Indianapolis Colts.
— Mania Sports (@Minutemania1) February 26, 2020
On paper, this might sound like a win-win for the team.
Indy brings in an established starter and Rivers gets another chance to pursue a championship.
But, before Indy decides to mortgage their future on Rivers, it would be wise to pause and consider the alternatives.
The following is a list of three reasons why the Colts should not sign Rivers.
1. Worrisome 2019 Stats
At first glance, Rivers’ 2019 stats don’t look half bad.
After all, he threw for 4,615 yards, the fourth most yards of his career.
He also added 23 touchdowns to his career total.
Taking a closer look though, Rivers posted a few troubling numbers last season.
The most glaring numbers are 20 interceptions and an 88.5 passer rating.
His interception mark ties for second-most in his career.
The passer rating number is Rivers’ lowest since 2016.
This is cause for concern because both numbers either signal an anomaly or a decline in ability.
Rivers is 38 years old and has taken a beating the past few years.
It is well known that the Chargers have struggled to surround Rivers with a stable offensive line.
Case in point, for four out of the past five seasons, Rivers has been sacked over 30 times.
Wear and tear on one’s body, combined with advancing age, do not typically portend to better days ahead.
Those 20 interceptions could just be a hiccup in an otherwise illustrious career.
Or, it could be a large red flag that Rivers is on the downside of his career.
2. The Cost/Benefit Analysis is not Sound
In the business world, companies perform a cost/benefit analysis before a major decision.
The analysis looks at whether an idea is beneficial for the company.
Specifically, what are the costs related to this idea and what will be gained by this decision?
For the Colts, the cost of signing Rivers is steep and the benefits are questionable.
Recently, analysts have projected that the Colts will have approximately $86 million in cap space for 2020.
After accounting for rookie contracts, signing Colts high priority free agents, and other possible moves, that number is likely reduced.
Again, analysts speculate that after the wheeling and dealing, the Colts actually have $44 million.
Rivers will most likely look for a deal in the neighborhood of two years at $48 million.
This is based on a number of factors including age and market factors for his position.
Divide that by two and Rivers would potentially make $24 million In 2020.
That’s over half of the Colts available money.
Quite a large chunk of change ear marked to one player.
Also, do the Colts gain anything by basically renting Rivers for a year or two?
Is he a significant upgrade over Jacoby Brissett?
After all, Brissett threw for 18 touchdowns and only six picks last year.
If Indy doesn’t win a championship during Rivers’ time with the team, was that money well spent?
It should be noted that the Chargers have only made the playoffs once in the past six years.
He’s also only led the team to the playoffs six times total in his entire career.
It might be best to invest that $44 million for long term options that project better.
3. Beware the “Name” Brand
Here’s a quick quiz.
Name the teams these quarterbacks were playing for when they retired.
Joe Namath. Johnny Unitas. Joe Montana. Donovan McNabb. Brett Favre.
The answers: LA Rams, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City, Minnesota, Minnesota.
NFL history is full of athletes who left their original teams to seek one more shot at glory.
For every Joe Montana (who led the Chiefs to two playoff appearances) you have the rest of the guys on this list. (Favre led the Vikings to a near Super Bowl appearance in 2009, but he couldn’t finish the 2010 season due to injuries).
Rivers looks appealing and he might have one more run in him.
However, there’s also a good possibility he ends up like McNabb, who stepped away from the game during his final season.
In other words, Indy doesn’t know what to expect from Rivers.
It makes good sense for the Colts to take a hard pass on this notion and turn their attention to the future.
A stop-gap solution will not solve the team’s long term needs.NEXT: Former Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl Safety Mike Adams Retires