The San Diego Chargers can breathe a collective sigh of relief after agreeing to terms on a new contract with franchise quarterback Philip Rivers on Saturday.
The deal is worth $84 million with $65 million in guaranteed money, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
San Diego was reportedly going to franchise-tag Rivers in 2016, had it not inked him to a long-term extension prior to the 2015 campaign, per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport (via NFL Media PR).
The five-time Pro Bowler had seemed reluctant to commit to the Chargers before, but this lucrative payday may convince him he made the right choice.
Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network put the importance of Rivers into simple terms:
If San Diego was meant to have any chance at a Super Bowl in the coming years, it was going to have to lock down Rivers under center. Accomplishing that has to boost the collective morale of the organization, and Rivers must feel more at ease with the team than he previously did.
However, the team still has needs to address, especially in the receiving corps. Pro Football Focus notes how the quarterback could stand to benefit from speedy receivers who can gain yards after the catch:
Premier playmakers beyond legendary, aging tight end Antonio Gates, 35, have often been hard to come by for Rivers. San Diego did select Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft to provide a dynamic threat in the backfield, but a dearth of options exists in the receiving corps.
The go-to guy for Rivers on the outside is supreme route-runner Keenan Allen, who lacks the top-end speed to blow the top off a defense.
San Diego also lost slot wideout Eddie Royal to the Chicago Bears in free agency this offseason.
Until the Chargers acquire someone superior to Jacoby Jones as a deep threat and a receiver in the slot, it will be tough for Rivers to continue producing to his full ability.
At least Rivers had the confidence and conviction to commit to San Diego long term. Now, the Chargers have to reward that faith Rivers put in them and make the appropriate moves to surround a Super Bowl-caliber QB with a roster built to contend now.