Breaking down Philip Rivers' appeal as a Titans' trade target


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A trade for Philip Rivers still likely qualifies as a long shot. But that's not stopping us from considering the possibility of the San Diego Chargers QB ending up with the Tennessee Titans on or before April 30.

John McTigue of ESPN Stats & Information put together an extensive stats sheet that provides excellent reference points on Rivers, and I offer a good share of that here for your consideration.

Why Rivers would be a good get:

  • He hasn't missed a game since taking over the starting job at the start of the 2006 season. That's 144 consecutive starts. He and Eli Manning are the only two quarterbacks with no games missed in that time.

  • Rivers' 88 wins in that time trail only Tom Brady (102) and Peyton Manning (99).

  • Rivers is one of four QBs to have thrown 30 or more passing touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. Drew Brees (seven straight seasons), Peyton Manning (three) and Tony Romo (two) are the others.

  • Rivers finished within the top 10 in most major passing categories last season: Fourth in completion percentage (66.5 percent), eighth in passing yards (4,286), eighth in passing TDs (31).

  • Rivers has thrown 4,678 passes in his career and completed 64.7 percent of them. Rivers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are the only three quarterbacks in NFL history with 4,500 career pass attempts and a career completion percentage of 64 percent or better.

Why Rivers might not be a great get:

  • Despite the high completion percentages and touchdown totals, Rivers has not been a top-10 quarterback in the NFL in recent years. Since 2010, Rivers' Total QBR ranks 11th among qualified quarterbacks and he has thrown the third-most interceptions, including a league-leading 18 last season (tied with Chicago's Jay Cutler).

  • Rivers and the Chargers have gone 42-38 (.525) the past five seasons, missing the playoffs four times and posting zero 10-win seasons.

  • Rivers had a brief surge in 2013 with new coach Mike McCoy and coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, finishing second in the NFL in QBR, but that top-level performance has not been common for Rivers recently.

  • Prior to 2010, Rivers ranked eighth or better in QBR in three of his four seasons as a starter. The Chargers had three 10-win seasons in that stretch and made the playoffs each year, advancing as far as the AFC Championship Game in 2007.

  • The statistical dip occurred after the Chargers waived LaDainian Tomlinson following the 2009 season. When Rivers played with Tomlinson, who was NFL MVP in 2006, the offense relied less on the passing game. Rivers averaged 471 passes in four seasons with Tomlinson, and 553 passes in five seasons since.

Also, quarterbacks of Rivers' caliber rarely get traded:

  • Rivers has thrown 252 passing touchdowns in his career. Only two QBs in NFL history have thrown more with a single team prior to being traded: Brett Favre (442) and Johnny Unitas (287). Both quarterbacks were 38 or older years old at the time of their trades. Favre played three more seasons (Jets, Vikings) and Unitas played one more season (Chargers).

  • Only five quarterbacks in NFL history have ever thrown 200 touchdowns with a team before being traded. Beyond Favre and Unitas, that list is Joe Montana, Donovan McNabb and John Hadl (traded in 1973 to pave the way for Dan Fouts). While Favre, Unitas and Montana were all 36 or older when traded, McNabb was 33 and Hadl was 32.