As you may have heard, longtime Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers isn’t interested in following the team up from San Diego to Los Angeles, and may be available via trade.
THE BUFFALO BILLS ARE NOT GOING TO TRADE FOR PHILIP RIVERS.
Why is that? Allow me to elaborate...
1. Rivers has a no-trade clause
This is probably the biggest and most obvious reason that he won’t be heading to Western New York for the 2017 season.
The no-trade clause is fairly rare in the NFL, since player trades are so infrequent and rarely involve anybody of consequence. That said, Rivers has one, and as a result he can control where he’ll be playing next season. Given that he’ll be turning 36 near the end of next season, his time in the NFL is quickly nearing its end. The odds that he’d be willing to waive the no-trade clause for a final run at a Super Bowl with a team that really isn’t in a position to compete for one (no matter what the GM may believe) are long. It’s also unlikely that Rivers would willingly uproot his family for a cross-country move, especially when you consider that:
2. The Bills aren’t the only team with questions at quarterback
The tweet that started all of this even goes out of its way to note that the 49ers would probably take a strong look at trading for Rivers. I find it infinitely more likely that Rivers would be willing to stay in southern California than he would be to trek across the country.
A few other teams, such as the Texans and Broncos, could also make use of his services without forcing him to jump three time zones. Again, considering Rivers has veto power due to the NTC, his opinion matters on this more than it does more most potential trade targets (for example, Tony Romo).
3. Rivers has a pretty hefty cap hit for a QB in his mid-30s
Here are the numbers, courtesy of Spotrac:
While those numbers wouldn’t be huge in the grand scheme of things, consider that for any quarterback not named Tom Brady, performance tend to diminish with age. His cap hit and performance would be traveling in opposite directions. Also, while (again) those numbers aren’t very high for a starting quarterback, they are far too high for a backup. Paying someone that amount of money implies that you want them as the starter.
Could the Bills draft a quarterback and let him sit behind Rivers for a few years? Sure they could. Why do that, though, when...
4. The Bills already have a quarterback who is the product of a long-term project
Remember Tyrod Taylor? You know, the guy that’s been the Bills’ starter for the last two seasons? Yeah, he’s still under contract. he also spent four years behind a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Joe Flacco, before striking out on his own. While he has been far from the best, he’s been good enough that the Bills would probably be in the playoffs if they had put together a better defense over the last two seasons under Rex Ryan.
Why would they trade for Rivers and develop a guy who would basically put them right where they are now? That’s a very short-sighted move.
5. The Bills would have to give something up for Rivers, and he probably won’t come cheap
As I mentioned earlier, there are quite a few teams that could be interested in Rivers if he truly is available via trade. Setting aside my point about Rivers being able to control his own destiny, to an extent, there’s still going to be a market for the man. That means there’s going to be competition and one-upsmanship. That means that Rivers probably won’t come cheap.
The Bills have six draft picks this season (none in the fourth or seventh rounds and two in the fifth). They don’t have a whole lot of ammo for a Rivers trade, and what they do have they’re going to want to keep. That’s because...
6. The Bills have important areas of need outside of the quarterback position
Robert Woods and Stephon Gilmore are free agents, and it would be a surprise if either player was on the Bills roster next season. Aaron Williams may be returning, but even if he is there’s an obvious injury risk with him.
That’s three huge areas of need right there: wide receiver, cornerback, and safety. Throw in right tackle and 4-3 defensive end, and that’s too many spots for the Bills to be throwing picks away for a quarterback they really don’t need.
I don’t have a crystal ball, and I don’t have sources inside the organization. I don’t know what the future holds for the Bills. I’m just saying that, given the needs and obstacles, it’s not going to happen. Philip Rivers won’t be quarterbacking the Bills in 2017, or probably in any year after that.