Where Philip Rivers ranks among best NFL QBs
After months of rumors, the San Diego Chargers and Philip Rivers finally came to an agreement on a contract extension that keeps him with the team through the 2019 season. While he may be getting up there in age, Rivers is still one of the very best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Our PFF rating — which measures how well he is expected to perform in the 2015 season based on his past production — of 85.6. That ranks fourth in the league behind only Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger. He finished eighth among QBs in our grading system in 2014, and third in 2013. When you consider that Tom Brady could miss four games due to suspension and Peyton Manning is coming off a steep end-of-season drop-off in performance, it’s not hard to envision Rivers being a top-5 NFL quarterback this season.
Back in 2012 Rivers looked to be deteriorating quickly, finishing the season as our No 27-graded quarterback. What I remember most about him from covering him that season was how often he was happy to throw the ball away — many times when it didn’t seem necessary. He finished the year with 42 throwaways, the most of any quarterback in a single season since we began grading in 2007.
In 2013 the throwaways were down and his grade up, and while his 2014 season wasn’t as impressive as his 2013 rebound year, he still had the seventh-highest passing grade in the league.
Defensively the Chargers have some issues heading into 2015 that need to be improved upon, but with a quarterback like Rivers to go with a ground game that has a nice variety of talents in Danny Woodhead, Branden Oliver and rookie Melvin Gordon, they are set up well to have a strong season on offense.
At the very least they should be able to contend with the Denver Broncos for the AFC West crown, and keeping Rivers around makes that likely to be a yearly occurrence over the next few seasons.