Thu Jan 17 7:16pm ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers talks to a teammate on the sideline during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, right, speaks to down judge Sarah Thomas during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. Thomas is the first woman to officiate an NFL playoff game. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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.''
Buffalo Bills rookie tight end Dawson Knox showed some promising potential at spring practices and could be in line for some serious playing time to open the season. Knox was a third round pick by the Bills out of Ole Miss. His path towards playing time this year became a lot more clear when Tyler Kroft broke his foot in May. Knox caught just 15 passes his junior year at Ole Miss in 2018, but averaged an impressive 18.9 yards-per-catch. Kroft opened camp on the PUP list and will likely miss time to start the season. Knox, meanwhile, will be competing with Jason Croom, Lee Smith and fellow rookie Tommy Sweeney for the top tight end spot on the team.
The Athletics Matt Barrows expects San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman to lead the charge in 2019. Having formerly worked with head coach Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta, Colemans incumbent role shouldnt be a surprise after his signing this offseason. The dual-threat Coleman tallied 1,076 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns in 199 touches last season but was a relative disappointment when handed the opportunity to be the lead dog. In San Francisco, hell compete with Jerick McKinnon (knee) returning from a torn ACL and Matt Breida, amongst others for snaps. Based on his history and the personnel, its conceivable Coleman wont work as a typical lead back as each players skillset is optimized. Considering the clogged playing situation, the Niners running backs are fairly bunched in RotoBallers rankings at 29th (Coleman), 32nd (McKinnon) and 40th (Breida).
The Buffalo Bills placed running back Frank Gore on the Non-Football Injury list to start training camp. The injury is considered to be minor and the team doesn't expect him to miss much time. Gore is 36 years old so the last thing you want to hear coupled with his name is the word "injury" at this point as even something minor could really hamper him going forward. With a crowded Bills' backfield led by LeSean McCoy and also including T.J. Yeldon and rookie Devin Singletary, Gore doesn't present much fantasy intrigue at this point.
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones (hip) and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (shoulder) were both placed on the Active/PUP list. Neither player is expected to do much if anything during Cowboys training camp, but as of right now both players are fully expected to be ready for Week 1 against the New York Giants. Both are key pieces of the Dallas defense, and Jones is entering his contract year.
Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick will not need to be placed on the Active/PUP list to begin training camp. Frederick missed all of the 2018 season because of Guillain-Barre Syndrome but is now "ready to go" according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The Dallas offensive line took a noticeable step back without Frederick anchoring the middle of it, so his presence should be a boost for the entire Cowboys offense, but especially for running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (ankle) didn't participate in the team's offseason team activities, but Kelce is expected to be a full go for training camp. Kelce has three-straight 1000 yard receiving seasons to his name and caught 10 touchdowns last year in Kansas City's prolific offense. He's set to be the first tight end off the board in all fantasy drafts this year, and for now it appears that the ankle injury shouldn't factor into any fantasy decisions that you make.
Seattle Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner is expected to show up for training camp on time Wednesday, July 24, but he may not put himself 'in harm's way' until a contract extension gets done, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Ronald Darby was officially placed on the Active/PUP list. Darby playing in Week 1 still seems like a "legit possibility" according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, but it's far from a sure thing at this point. Darby has looked like a difference maker in the secondary when he's been on the field, his issue has been how rarely he is actually on the field. He's appeared in just 17 games over the past two seasons, and hasn't played since Week 10 last year. He'll be a boost to the Philly defense if he can stay healthy.
Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (ankle) reported to camp Tuesday, July 23, after he was held out of organized team activities and minicamp following offseason ankle surgery. Kelce is in camp three days early so he can get some extra work in before the rest of the team reports on Friday, July 26.
Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) wants to play the 2019 season at 218 pounds after playing most of his career around 224 pounds, according to NFL.com's Steve Wyche.
Fantasy Spin: The drop in weight - even though it is only six pounds - figures to be good for his ailing left knee. The narrative about Gurley's career being somewhat in jeopardy appears to be changing a bit as the offseason progresses, as the Rams continue to preach confidence and optimism in Gurley's health. Even though he comes with substantial risk and may be a surprise inactive from time to time, he is shaping up to be an extreme value pick for any owner lucky enough to get him in the second round of fantasy drafts.
Green Bay Packers CB Kevin King (shoulder) is expected to be active and healthy to begin training camp, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Philadelphia Eagles CB Ronald Darby (knee) is expected to start training camp on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list as he continues to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. However, there is still a 'legit possibility' he will be active Week 1, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson compiled a passer rating of 113.6 against the blitz in 2018 - the third-best mark in the league for a quarterback with at least 50 pass attempts - according to Pro Football Focus.
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees compiled a passer rating of 120.0 against the blitz in 2018 - the second-best mark in the league for a quarterback with at least 50 pass attempts - according to Pro Football Focus.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes compiled a league-best passer rating of 124.6 - minimum 50 attempts - against the blitz in 2018, per Pro Football Focus.
Free-agent CB DeShawn Shead (Lions) worked out for the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday, July 23.
Updating previous reports, free-agent WR Allen Hurns (Cowboys) was asked by the Dallas Cowboys to take a $4 million pay cut in 2019 before he declined the offer and was released Tuesday, July 23. Hurns was scheduled to make $6 million in 2019, including a $4 million base salary and $2 million in incentives, but the Cowboys wanted a restructured deal worth $2 million total with Hurns coming back from his fractured fibula/ankle suffered in the postseason.
The New York Jets have waived running back De'Angelo Henderson. After adding Le'Veon Bell and Ty Montgomery in the offseason, Henderson was always a long shot to make the team's final roster, so cutting him now allows him time to latch on somewhere else. The problem is that while Henderson was a popular dynasty sleeper pick two years ago, he's now had just 11 total touches through two seasons with two different teams. Henderson doesn't look like a guy who'll be able to earn significant snaps on a team in 2019.
The Dallas Cowboys have released wide receiver Allen Hurns, who broke his fibula in a playoff game last season. It's unclear if Hurns was going to be ready to go for the Cowboys when training camp began, but he was expected to play this season. He'll have a chance to latch on somewhere else, but it would be a stretch to expect Hurns to be a fantasy relevant player in 2019. His departure from Dallas might help Tavon Austin see the field more, but Hurns wasn't a threat to compete for snaps with Dallas' top three wideouts.
Despite starting a game for the Washington Redskins in 2018, quarterback Mark Sanchez has retired from the NFL and will move into a broadcasting role with ESPN. While Sanchez was never an elite quarterback, he did lead the Jets on some long playoff runs early in his career. He's likely still rostered in some dynasty leagues, but it's now safe to drop Sanchez in all formats.