Chargers GM Tom Telesco on Philip Rivers: 'He can still compete at a top starter level'

On Sunday, Philip Rivers said he plans to play football in 2020.

He was also resigned to the fact that he may have to do so for a new team.

The 38-year-old Los Angeles Chargers quarterback had just completed one of his and his team’s worst seasons of his 16-year career.

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What is management thinking?

General manager Tom Telesco didn’t sound ready to give up on Rivers in a Thursday news conference. At the same time, he wasn’t dismissing the reality of Rivers’ decline.

“There's throws that he still makes that a lot of QBs in this league don’t,” Telesco told reporters. “He can still compete at a top starter level, but I am doing a disservice if we don't look at everything.”

Rivers prepared to play elsewhere

Rivers just reached the conclusion of a four-year, $83 million contract. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent during the offseason.

Ultimately it will be up to the team to decide if it’s ready to move on from its eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback who defined an era of Chargers football.

If they don’t extend him in offer, Rivers sounds prepared to look elsewhere for work.

“Shoot, if it was the last time here or the last time in this uniform, I think that’s a possibility,” Rivers said after Sunday’s season-ending loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. ... “I plan to play football. Where that’s gonna be will get sorted out over the next three months.”

Ugly season for Rivers, Chargers

Rivers threw for 4,615 yards and completed 66 percent of his passes this season. He also threw for 20 interceptions and 23 touchdowns, his lowest scoring output since his second year as a starter. Many of those turnovers were costly as the Chargers regressed from a 12-4 playoff team last season to 5-11 and 0-6 in the AFC West this season.

All signs point to the Chargers moving on from Philip Rivers. But are they ready to do so? (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
All signs point to the Chargers moving on from Philip Rivers. But are they ready to do so? (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Why the Chargers might move on

The Chargers are building around a core of young defenders and have significant financial decisions to make around offensive talent like running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler and tight end Hunter Henry.

They also have another proven NFL starter on a cheap contract on the roster. Tyrod Taylor is scheduled to play under the second year of a two-year, $11 million deal he signed last offseason.

The Chargers own the sixth pick in the draft and the opportunity to select a player like Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon’s Justin Herbert or Utah State’s Jordan Love as the quarterback of the future.

With the team scheduled to move into its shared Inglewood palace with the Rams next season, a lot of signs point to a changing of the guard for the Chargers.

But are they ready to say goodbye to a franchise icon?

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