Philip Rivers retires. What’s next for the Colts’ quarterback position?

Philip Rivers retires; What’s next for the Colts’ quarterback position?

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s Twitter account, Colts QB Philip Rivers has announced his retirement from the NFL after 17 years in the league.

Is Philip Rivers a Hall of Famer?

The debate is on. While Rivers, who turned 39 on December 8, never won a Super Bowl, he’s been one of the most productive quarterbacks to ever take the field.

His resume speaks for itself. Not only is Rivers ranked fifth in NFL history in passing yards (63,440) — only Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre have passed for more yards in their careers — but the fringe Hall of Famer also retires fifth in touchdown passes (421) as well.

Similar to the passing yards leaders only in a different order, Rivers is ranked behind Brady, Brees, Manning and Favre.

Rivers isn’t just a stat-hound either. He is also ranked eighth in career wins (134), which is the second-most of any quarterback without a Super Bowl ring, behind only the legendary Dan Marino (147). No, Rivers never won a Super Bowl and has only appeared in one AFC Championship Game, which he lost to the Patriots in 2007, but he will go down as one of the most-prolific signal-callers to ever take the field. Rivers retires as an eight-time Pro Bowler and has won comeback player of the year back in 2013, amongst other accolades.

Since 2006, when he succeeded then San Diego Chargers QB Drew Brees as the team’s starting quarterback, Rivers never missed a game, compiling a ridiculous 252 straight games, including the playoffs. This includes playing the 2007 AFC Conference Championship game with a torn ACL.

So does Rivers belong in the Hall of Fame amongst the elite? I am not one of the voters, but if I was,  he would get my nod. Let’s summarize.

  • 134-106 Win/ Loss record
  • 5-7 Win/ Loss record in the playoffs
  • one AFC Title game appearance (loss)
  • eighth-most wins amongst quarterbacks all-time
  • 252 consecutive starts including the playoffs — durability matters
  • the quintessential good-guy — represented the shield with dignity
  • led his team to a winning record in 9-of-15 seasons as a starter
  • second-most wins of quarterbacks without a Super Bowl ring

While Rivers lacks a Super Bowl ring and an All-Pro award, he is in the conversation to receive a gold jacket. He may not get into the Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility, but Rivers should eventually find his way to Canton.

Who will be the Colts’ quarterback in 2021?

Now that Rivers has retired, the Colts are once again left with a hole at quarterback. In the words of Bill Goldberg, “who’s next?”

While Jacoby Brissett comes to mind — he was the immediate successor to Andrew Luck when he abruptly retired following the 2018 campaign — he is not a lock, especially since he is not only an impending unrestricted free agent. (The Patriots could be in the mix to land their former signal-caller.)

And although the Eagles moved off of former HC Doug Pederson, which could mean they will retain QB Carson Wentz, I would not rule him out either.

Colts HC Frank Reich was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator from 2016-2017, Wentz’s first two seasons as a pro. There is a connection there.

While Wentz does come with a hefty contract holding a $32 million average salary — he would be set to become a free agent in 2025 — the Colts are one of the teams that can make it work. Per Spotrac, the Colts have the second-most salary cap space entering the 2021 offseason ($68,645,043).

Another name to watch is Matthew Stafford. Like Wentz, Stafford is under contract with his current team, the Detroit Lions. However, Stafford comes with a $27 million average salary. What’s more, the Lions could be more willing to trade Stafford as they could (and should) be in rebuild mode after firing GM Bob Quinn and HC Matt Patricia.

Currently, the Lions hold the seventh overall pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft and could be in play to take their field general of the future under new GM Brad Holmes and HC Dan Campbell.

Regardless of who the next Colts’ quarterback will be, they will be stepping into a prime situation. The Colts have one of the NFL’s best offensive lines and the running game to match behind impending second-year rusher Jonathan Taylor.

And although longtime Colts WR T.Y. Hilton is an impending free agent, the team has ample cap space to let him go and bring on a younger notable name like JuJu Smith-Schuster or Allen Robinson.

Even if the Colts decide not to bring in a notable wideout, they have Parris Campbell coming off a knee injury, Michael Pittman Jr. entering his year-two as a pro, and a slew of talented pass-catching tight ends. Not to mention one of the better defenses in the league when healthy.

If the Colts are wise, they will bring in an experienced signal-caller ready to win-now, just like the team is as a whole.

Stay tuned throughout the offseason for odds on who will wind up as Indianapolis Colts quarterback.

Prepare for your Conference Championship betting and fantasy football picks.

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