Today Fox Sports reported that Eli Manning inked a 6-year $97 million contract. This made someone who, at best, can be described as a top-15 QB the highest paid player at his position. This contract has rocked the landscape for the QBs form his draft class, namely Ben Rothlisberger and Philip Rivers.
Why This Affects Rivers
Philip Rivers was statistically the best quarterback in 2008. Rivers had the highest QB rating, was tied for the league lead in TDs, with 34, and passed for over 4000 yards. Rivers was the entire offense for the injury plagued Chargers last season. Even if the running attack improves we all know Norv Turner will want to pass even more after last seasons success.
With Rivers approaching a contract year he too has motivation to put up even bigger numbers. He knows that an identical season (statistically) with a deep playoff run can net him in the range of $105+ million type deal. And because of Eli Manning's deal this number becomes even more realistic.
The best we can hope for as fans is that Rivers is smart enough to realize that in San Diego he is going to be a contender every year. The offense is built with him as the center piece and that the running game is going to plateau at about where it was last season.
Worst case scenario is that with the team paying 2 running backs starter salaries Rivers might not be able to get the type of money he will command and the team lets him walk as a free agent (a la Drew Brees).
Luckily the team is committed enough to winning to most likely re-sign Rivers and let Darren Sproles go as a free agent at the end of this season. If we do re-sign Rivers it will burn a big hole in owner Alex Spanos' pocketbook.