Chargers GM Telesco has no timetable on Rivers deal
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Philip Rivers just concluded his 15th season with the Los Angeles Chargers but the quarterback’s future beyond 2019 is one of many areas that general manager Tom Telesco will have to address during the offseason.
Telesco reiterated during his season-ending news conference Thursday that Rivers isn’t going anywhere but didn’t elaborate on a timetable for discussing a contract extension.
Rivers this year will be going into the final season of a four-year, $83.25 million extension he signed in August 2015. He will earn $16 million in 2019 — $11 million in base salary and a $5 million roster bonus.
“He’s going to be here. We’ll talk at the right point as far as the moves we need to make in the offseason and the resources we have and kind of see how it all fits in,” Telesco said.
Rivers is coming off one of his best seasons. His 105.5 passer rating equaled a career best and his 8.5 yards per attempt was his best since 2010. His 68.3 percent completion rate also ranked as the second best of his career.
Rivers said Monday that he hasn’t discussed his future plans with the team, but noted he wants to play at least through 2020, when the new LA Stadium at Hollywood Park opens. A possible model that both sides could look at is the two-year, $50 million contract that Drew Brees signed with New Orleans last March.
“We’ll see what happens but that is something that excites me and that I want to be a part of it,” he said.
Telesco didn’t rule out the possibility of drafting a quarterback this year, but also said that it would have to line up with the team’s other needs.
Telesco’s more immediate goals are trying to keep most of the 14 players who are slated to become unrestricted free agents. At the top of the list is safety Adrian Phillips, who earned All-Pro honors on special teams. Phillips was third on the team in tackles (77) and led the league in special teams stops with 21.
The Chargers cut and re-signed Phillips eight times during the 2014 and ’15 seasons before he finally made it for good.
“Eight times he came into my office to let him go and he always handled it professionally,” Telesco said. “To see a player finally earn a job on 53, then earn a role, then a starting role, and then being an excellent special teamer and defense and then go to the Pro Bowl. He’s kind of the heart and soul of the defense, too.”
Other notable free agents include cornerback Jason Verrett, who missed the season with an Achilles injury, wide receiver Tyrell Williams and defensive tackle Damion Square. Williams averaged 15.9 yards on 41 receptions with five touchdowns while Square played all four spots on the defensive line while posting three sacks.
“We like to draft, develop and re-sign our own and then are very selective in free agency. We like to retain our own, I think we have a good core here,” Telesco said.
Telesco said he likes the steps the franchise has taken the past two years under coach Anthony Lynn. The Chargers have gone from five wins in 2016 to 12 regular-season victories this season and a postseason berth for the first time in five years. Los Angeles defeated Baltimore in the wild-card round but lost 41-28 to New England in the divisional playoffs.
“This is not a one-step process. This is a multi-step process to where we want to go. We took some significant steps this year,” Telesco said. “We had a very good football team but we played a better football team in New England at New England. We’ve got to figure out how to get past that hump next year.”
Follow Joe Reedy at www.twitter.com/joereedy