Could Philip Rivers return as the Colts’ quarterback in 2021?
The Indianapolis Colts’ playoff campaign lasted just one weekend as they, through seemingly every fault of their own, faltered to the Buffalo Bills to the tune of a 27-24 heartbreaker.
To put a positive spin on an otherwise demoralizing afternoon, we fully believe that this loss will prove to be a valuable lesson moving forward for the team’s promising young core, which should be expected to be right back in the same position at this time next season.
For that to happen, GM Chris Ballard and the rest of the front office will have to either re-sign impending free agents or find replacements for them if they sign elsewhere. Luckily for the Colts, they’ll have approximately $60 million in salary cap space, which currently comes in as the third-highest sum of any team in the league.
Perhaps the biggest question surrounding Indy heading into the offseason is what they plan to do at the quarterback position. Well, if head coach Frank Reich’s season-closing remarks were any indication, it’s that he wants Philip Rivers to be back with the team in 2021.
"“As I sit here right now, yes, I want Philip Rivers to be my starting quarterback next year,” Reich told reporters.“That could change. This isn’t a one-man show. Yeah, I’m the head coach, but we’ve got to do what’s best for the team, and if that’s an organization, obviously, as the head coach and (GM Chris Ballard) and ownership, Jim Irsay, those are the three primary decision-makers, as we sit down and talk through every option, about Philip and all the options that are out there, it’ll all get discussed.”"
Reich concluded by asserting that Rivers has earned the right to be in the discussion of potential quarterback options for next season, and fans would be hard-pressed to disagree with him. The 58-year-old has shared a close relationship with Rivers for a while now, but he would obviously never put that before the betterment of the organization.
For the season, the eight-time Pro Bowler completed 68% of his passes for 4,169 yards and 24 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions, which were the fewest he’s thrown in two years. He also averaged 7.7 yards per attempt and proved that he can push the ball downfield, completing a whopping 56 passes that went for at least 20 yards.
Say what you will about Rivers’ wonky mechanics and lack of mobility (he only took 19 sacks). The fact of the matter is that he provided the Colts with borderline elite quarterback play and should probably be their first choice to start under center next season unless a no-brainer alternative becomes available.
This decision is obviously contingent on whether Rivers decides to return for his 18th season, but if we gathered anything from his emotional postgame presser, it’s that he has another year of football left in his 39-year-old body.