Before we get all fired up and talk about how preposterous this idea may be, let’s understand what could cause it to actually happen.
You start with two teams, the Chargers and the Raiders.
San Diego is a team who has had numerous chances to do great things over the past decade, yet consistently failed to do so. They made an effort to get younger this offseason, however, parted ways with arguably the most talented receiver that Rivers had during his tenure there.
They know their window is closing and that both head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith’s jobs are on the line this season. They need to win now.
Then you have the Oakland Raiders, who are sitting at the dawn of a new era. Oakland has had a disappointing stretch recently, but new GM Reggie McKenzie is doing his best to change the culture. Having made the most of a draft with limited picks and options, the Raiders enter the 2012 season with much anticipation, wondering what type of success is in store for this young team.
Now, let’s suppose the wheels fall off for both teams.
In San Diego, Turner will be out; a whole new staff will be in. They’ll most likely bring with them a new offensive philosophy. This won’t sit well with the 30-year old Rivers, who is arguably the best NFL quarterback without a Super Bowl ring. He won’t want to adapt to someone else’s system at this point in his career. He’s going to want to call his own shots.
In Oakland, a collective train-wreck of a season might very well have to do with the performance of Carson Palmer. Palmer was brought in by the Al Davis regime, so we know McKenzie is not married to him. First-year head coach Dennis Allen would most likely get a pass in this case, arguing that the failures were the fault of Palmer, who was also not his guy.
At this point, I can see Philip Rivers clamoring to be traded. The Raiders are already paying Palmer, two years Rivers’ elder, similar money to what San Diego pays Rivers. It would be in McKenzie’s best interest to make an upgrade.
Knowing Oakand has a first round pick in 2013, I would expect the new administration San Diego to ask for it in exchange for Rivers. With both teams having had disappointing seasons, it would give San Diego 2 chances to land a future franchise quarterback in the first round and provide a known successful commodity at the position to the Raiders.
The Oakland receiving core, being relatively young and full of potential, would appeal to Rivers. He already knows the division and would have to make little change in his game-planning.
My bet is that he would embrace the fresh start and Raider Nation would love the thought of having a perennial Pro-Bowler under center. His success in a silver and black uniform could make them quickly forget how much they’ve grown to hate him over the years.
It is thinking a bit outside the box, but I believe should the season play out as I mentioned, it would be in the best interest of both teams to make the move. San Diego can begin the rebuilding process with a new face to the franchise and Oakland can begin their ascent to the next level with the most important piece to the puzzle in place.
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