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.''
The Arizona Cardinals are signing free-agent tight end Charles Clay to a one-year deal worth up to $3.25 million on Tuesday, according to a source. The deal includes a $350,000 signing bonus. Clay was an afterthought in Buffalo's offense the last couple years and had only 21 catches for 184 yards and no scores in 13 games last season. He's unlikely to produce much more in Arizona with Ricky Seals-Jones and veteran Jermaine Gresham also in the fold with a young quarterback still learning the speed of the NFL. Clay won't even be worth drafting in most fantasy leagues.
The Jacksonville Jaguars exercised the 2019 options for defensive end Calais Campbell, defensive end Lerentee McCray and safety Cody Davis. Campbell has been a Pro Bowl selection the last two years with the Jaguars and has accumulated 25 sacks in that time frame. He'll enter his 12th season in 2019 and had a franchise-record 14.5 sacks in 2017. He became the first player in team history to have back-to-back double-digit sacks when he registered 10.5 quarterback takedowns last season. Campbell is a four-time Pro Bowler and is certainly an IDP force.
The Jacksonville Jaguars declined the 2019 option for tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins on Tuesday, making him a free agent. He started the first five games of the season and caught 11 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown before missing the final 11 games with a core muscle injury. His best year came in 2017 with the Jets when he had 50 catches for 357 yards and three touchdowns. Between injuries and off-field issues, teams are unlikely to be knocking the door down to sign ASF this offseason.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will not be asked to run a dramatically different offense than the one he has operated for most of his career, according to offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. 'When you take a guy like Aaron Rodgers, who is a very good football player, I mean, he's kind of one of those guys where you can kind of pretty much do a lot of everything. I think a lot of it is going to carry over. I think some of the language will be different but it's going to be a lot of the same premises for him,' Hackett told PackersNews.com.
Fantasy Spin: Rodgers is unlikely to be the overall QB1 in drafts this summer following the emergence of Patrick Mahomes, but he'll come off the board shortly thereafter as the QB2 or QB3. It will also be interesting to see how receptive the 35-year-old will be to the schemes of new head coach Matt LaFleur and Hackett, although it's hard to imagine he'll drop off considering how vanilla Mike McCarthy had become with his play-calling in recent years.
Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell is unlikely to receive a franchise or transition tag from the team, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.
Impending free-agent LB C.J. Mosley and the Baltimore Ravens are reportedly optimistic they will agree to a long-term contract before the March 5 deadline for franchise tags, according to ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. is believed to be a trade target for the San Francisco 49ers this offseason, according to ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio.
Fantasy Spin: It is not known if Beckham will be available this offseason, but the 49ers likely will look to add a No. 1 receiver during the offseason. Beckham will be a No. 1 fantasy receiver no matter where he plays in 2019.
Seattle Seahawks impending free-agent FS Earl Thomas may not be an option for the Dallas Cowboys if he is looking for a lucrative contract this offseason because the team will need to sign DE DeMarcus Lawrence, QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR Amari Cooper and CB Byron Jones to long-term contracts over the next year or so, in the opinion of SI.com's Albert Breer.
The San Francisco Giants gave the sense that they'd be interested in trading for New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. as the season ended, and that sense still persists halfway into February. They've had real interest in OBJ for almost a year, but the question is whether the Giants would actually consider trading him after signing him to a big extension last fall. San Fran holds the second and 36th overall picks of this year's draft. The Niners are looking to bolster their receiving corps after Marquise Goodwin failed to live up to expectations as the No. 1 wideout in 2018. The Steelers' Antonio Brown could be a target, too, but he comes with a lot of baggage and the 49ers might prefer Beckham. OBJ is younger and has just as much talent as Brown, and a move to the bay area with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and head coach Kyle Shanahan would make Beckham even more appealing as an elite WR1.
Detroit Lions impending free-agent DE Ziggy Ansah could re-sign with the Lions depending on how he is physically this offseason, according to general manager Bob Quinn.
Detroit Lions impending free-agent TE Levine Toilolo, TE Luke Willson, RB LeGarrette Blount and DT Ricky Jean-Francois are all expected to hit the free-agent market this offseason.
Detroit Lions restricted free-agent DE Romeo Okwara is expected to receive a tender offer this offseason.
Washington Redskins RB Derrius Guice (knee) is able to sprint in a straight line but is still not able to do any lateral movements at full speed yet. He also wants to build the strength in his legs over the next few months.
Fantasy Spin: Guice was the team's starting running back last season but missed most of the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He may have to share playing time with Adrian Peterson in 2019 if Peterson re-signs with the team. Guice can be a No. 2 or No. 3 fantasy back if he receives most of the playing time.
San Francisco 49ers impending free-agent PK Robbie Gould said he is looking to sign at least a three-year contract this offseason.
Miami Dolphins running backs coach Eric Studesville said he is not sure if impending free-agent RB Frank Gore will receive a contract offer from the Dolphins this offseason.
Fantasy Spin: Gore had a solid season in 2018 with 722 yards but failed to record a rushing touchdown. It is not known if he will be able to find a starting job this offseason but would be a good No. 2 running back for a team. He will have some fantasy value in standard leagues if he finds a good situation.
Miami Dolphins RB Kalen Ballage was impressive during his rookie season but still has room to grow, according to running backs coach Eric Studesville. 'He's a big, physical body,' Studesville said. 'He can run. He's athletic. He's got a lot of growth to do as far as seeing and recognizing things. His work ethic is tremendous. He's got speed for a big man.'
Fantasy Spin: Ballage rushed for 191 yards and one touchdown in limited playing time this past season but could be a contender for the starting running back job in 2019. He has a chance to be a No. 3 or No. 4 fantasy running back depending on his role.
New England Patriots impending free-agent PK Stephen Gostkowski will be a candidate for the franchise tag if the two sides are not able to agree to a long-term extension over the next few weeks.
New England Patriots impending free-agent OT Trent Brown and DE Trey Flowers likely will not be candidates for the franchise tag because it is believed the team probably would think the franchise tag salaries would be too high for the players, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Mike Reiss.
Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent DT David Irving is not expected to be retained, according to a source.
Jacksonville Jaguars DE Calais Campbell had his $12 million option for 2019 exercised Monday, Feb. 18. Options for LB Lerentee McCray and FS Cody Davis were also picked up. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins did not have his optioned picked up.