When word broke that the Indianapolis Colts traded away their 2020 first-round NFL Draft pick in exchange for defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, all signs pointed towards Indy delving into the veteran free agency market to bolster their quarterback position. On Tuesday, they did just that, landing former Los Angeles Chargers signal-caller Philip Rivers, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the deal is expected to net Rivers $25 million in 2020. Rapoport was also quick to mention that Indianapolis also has the franchise tag available for 2021 should they need it to keep Rivers around for a second season.
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Rivers’ Ties to Colts’ Coaching Staff Runs Deep
Following the 2019 regular season, Colts general manager Chris Ballard made it clear that “the jury’s still out” on quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Apparently, that is no longer the case, as the team has seemingly opted to go a different route, inking long-term Chargers great Philip Rivers to a new deal.
While next season will mark Rivers’ first season with an NFL organization other than the Bolts over his soon to be 17-year career, he has the benefit of working with some familiar faces in his new place of work.
Rivers has worked previously with both the head coach in Indianapolis, as well as the offensive coordinator. Nick Sirianni, the Colts’ OC, spent five years on the Chargers’ coaching staff, two of which were as the team’s quarterback coach, working alongside Rivers. Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich also served as Rivers’ position coach in the past, prior to being promoted to offensive coordinator for the Rivers-led offense from 2014 through 2015.
Is Brissett Destined to Return to New England?
With Rivers’ contract being just a one-year deal, Indianapolis may be best served to get Jacoby Brissett in the fold. At the very least it gives the Colts the best backup quarterback in football. Brissett is a guy who, when healthy, has shown the ability to win games.
Brissett will also be just 27-years old until this December, meaning he’s still young enough to develop into the player Indianapolis hoped he would be. He could potentially sit behind a veteran such as Rivers for a season and then once again take the helm of the Colts offense.
However, that’s not as fun as a possibility that has floated around the NFL rumor mill since Tom Brady announced he wouldn’t be returning to the New England Patriots. That, of course, would be Brissett being dealt back to Foxborough, the place where he started his NFL career as a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Were Brissett to find his way back to New England, he would likely have a chance to compete for the team’s starting job with second-year pro Jarrett Stidham. That is, unless the Patriots have another trick up their sleeve that we don’t know about. Something that is a fairly likely scenario considering New England tends to be constantly one or two moves ahead of the rest of the league.