The Buccaneers are in an interesting place to play. The offense is built to win now but the quarterback situation is in a tragic state. The team can bring back Jameis Winston and hope for improvement, sign another team’s backup and hope for the best, draft one and pray they pan out or go with the final option... a veteran. Every option has it’s positives and negatives, let’s take a look at veteran quarterback Philip Rivers.
Philip Rivers’ CAREER THUS FAR
Rivers didn’t grow up in your typical fashion, with his father choosing to keep him out of youth football in lieu of watching high school practices. Rivers first played in a game during 7th grade and wouldn’t see the bench again until his rookie season with the Chargers.
After an illustrious two-way high school career, Rivers was looking to hone in on just being a quarterback. Schools like Alabama and Auburn were crossed off the list for fear of being asked to switch positions and ultimately, Rivers ended up at North Carolina State. The decision proved worth it, as Rivers would have a tremendous college career and would eventually hear his name called 4th overall on draft night by the Giants who in turn, traded Rivers to San Diego in a pre-arranged deal.
Rivers NFL career should sound pretty familiar. Rivers has been a gunslinger his whole career since taking over as the starter in year 2 and has been riding a possible hall of fame career with this very mentality. Rivers hasn’t shied away from a challenge and his fiery attitude exudes leadership. With Rivers nearing the end of his career, let’s take a look at the surface numbers for the past three seasons.
Rivers has thrown 83 touchdowns and 42 interceptions over the past three seasons, with last year being the second worst of his professional career interception wise with 20. Rivers has been roughed up plenty, something Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston has been forced to grow accustomed too given the offensive play style and protection issues he’s faced in his tenure as quarterback here.
With Rivers future being more of a retirement tour, he now leaves the Chargers looking for a new adventure. With a new home in Florida already, could his football home be here too?
WHY IT WORKS
The Bucs play an aggressive style on offense and any quarterback playing for Bruce Arians is going to need two things, a good arm and a willingness to push the ball downfield. Philip Rivers checks both of those boxes. Something else Rivers brings is a short memory and a willingness to continue going for “it”. This is a familiar trait to Winston fans.
Rivers works here as well in the sense that it gives Tampa two potential outs. Rivers would bridge the way to the next heir of the throne in Tampa without sacrificing a win now attitude. Rivers gives the team the ability to go out and find the future while showing the locker room that the time is still right now. Rivers behind center means the offense continues on as expected with little adjustments and the weapons Rivers would have to throw two wouldn’t have to worry about a gun-shy quarterback behind center should the team opt for a rookie or other free agent not named Rivers/Winston.
Rivers is going to be 39 and has clearly seen his best days behind him. Despite producing at a better top line statistical rate than Winston, he still isn’t going to be a clear upgrade and would have to learn a new system. One that Jameis Winston and Bruce Arians put together and at times, looked unstoppable running... even if it only was for the first half of a game.
One of the biggest gripes with Jameis Winston has been turnovers... well Philip Rivers is no stranger to turnovers having had 3 years of 20 + himself. Sure, as a whole Rivers has had a much better interception rate than Winston, but the large gap in age would lead one to believe that Winston still should have some growth in the tank.
Rivers also isn’t going to just take a discounted rate to come retire here in Florida. With price point being a concern with many for Jameis Winston, that same concern should be there with Philip Rivers.
WHAT’S THE COST?
The best estimates over from the guys at Spotrac.com have Rivers projecting out to a 2 year deal worth roughly $24 million a season. If Winston is demanding $30 million a season and Rivers is looking at $24, is $6 million really saving you enough while keeping the offense as competitive? Maybe...
It sure helps that Rivers had an overall down year and we know his long time home with the Chargers won’t be a competitive market to bid against. Should the veteran be looking in the low $20’s for a year or two year deal, maybe the cost is worth it.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
Sure, Rivers moved his family to Florida but... does he even have interest in playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Even if there is interest from Rivers end, do the Buccaneers share that same interest?
A slightly deeper dive into Rivers last two seasons will reveal that his 591 pass attempts in 2019 were the second most of his career. Furthermore, he struggled on deep passes despite throwing a total of 76, most in the last five seasons for him, and only completed 32.9%. Will that be enough to make this offense in Tampa hum? I’m just not so sure.
MAKE THE DECISION
So, given the uncertainty of the Buccaneers’ feelings on Philip Rivers and there own free agent Jameis Winston... you make the decision. What should Tampa do?
Vote in the poll and feel free to discuss the possibility in the comments down below!
When it comes to Jack Conklin, the Buccaneers should...
This poll is closed
Sign Him, No Matter What
Make An Offer, But Keep It Reasonable
Invite Him For A Cup Of Coffee And See Where It Goes From There
Call Him Up If We Have A Need After The Draft
Don’t Need Him