The Chargers and longtime quarterback Philip Rivers have mutually agreed that Rivers will not return for the 2020 season and will enter NFL free agency, the team announced.
“After stepping back a bit from last season, we reconnected with Philip and his representatives to look at how 2019 played out, assess our future goals, evaluate the current state of the roster and see if there was a path forward that made sense for both parties,” Los Angeles general manager Tom Telesco said via the team’s website Monday. “As we talked through various scenarios, it became apparent that it would be best for Philip and the Chargers to turn the page on what has truly been a remarkable run.
“We agreed that making this decision well before free agency would allow everyone to put themselves in the best position for success in 2020.”
Rivers recently moved his family to Florida, which signaled that his time with the Chargers was coming to an end, and began rumors that he could replace Jameis Winston in Tampa.
The news comes amid rampant speculation regarding where Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will play next season, with the Chargers headlining a handful of teams mentioned as a landing spot for the six-time Super Bowl champion. Brady is set to hit free agency this offseason for the first time in his career if he doesn’t re-sign with New England.
Since the Chargers drafted him fourth overall in 2004, Rivers holds more than 30 franchise records and ranks in the Top 10 of the NFL’s all-time lists in numerous categories. He has the ninth-most regular season victories (123) as a starter in NFL history, beating out legendary quarterbacks Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana and Jim Kelly.
“I am very grateful to the Spanos family and the Chargers organization for the last 16 years,” Rivers told the team site. “In anything you do, it’s the people you do it with that make it special. There are so many relationships and memories with coaches, support staff and teammates that will last forever, and for that I am so thankful.”
This past season, Rivers joined Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Dan Marino as the only players to surpass 58,000 career passing yards.