James Rapien

James Rapien

James Rapien came to talk sports and chew gum, and he's all out of gum.Full Bio


The Bengals should go after Philip Rivers

There are reports that Philip Rivers is unhappy with the Chargers moving to Los Angeles. Some believe that he will be traded this offseason. If that is even close to true, the Cincinnati Bengals should be interested in Rivers' services. 

If there's one thing the NFL playoffs taught us this year, it's that great quarterbacks win in January. Look at who's still playing – Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers. Ryan is the only one without a Super Bowl ring, but he's easily having the best season of his career.

 Rivers would give Marvin Lewis and the Bengals something they haven't had in a long time – A quarterback who can elevate those around him. Rivers is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He could help A.J. Green reach a level we've never seen. He's worked with Antonio Gates for years, so I'm sure it would benefit Tyler Eifert as well.

 Rivers hasn't had the continuity in San Diego that the Bengals could offer him. He would come in and be the best quarterback in the AFC North. Some of you will say Ben Roethlisberger, but I would argue that Rivers has done more, with less talent.

 Drafting a quarterback with Rivers' talent is hard. Trading for one is even harder and more rare. What would the Bengals have to send to the Chargers? Would it cost them multiple first round picks? A first and a second round pick? Maybe A.J. McCarron and a first round pick? I'm not sure it matters what the asking price is. Rivers is worth two or three first round picks. He's worth giving up McCarron too. Heck, maybe the Chargers would want Andy Dalton and a first round pick for Rivers. If I'm the Bengals, I would make that deal too. 

Does that sound like too much? It’s not. NOTHING replaces great quarterback play. Rivers has the ability to be great. Rivers just turned 35-years-old. Is he too old to carry a team to a championship? I don't think so. He threw for 4,386 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2016. He was playing without leading receiver Keenan Allen all season. His team was also trailing in most games and it forced him to throw the ball downfield. Those risks led to a career-high 21 interceptions. I don't think he would need to force the issue as much in Cincinnati.

 The Bengals lost by an average of 3.2 points in their final five losses of 2016. They need help on offense. They can try to build around Dalton and hope they make a playoff run. That's what most people expect and I agree with that philosophy. Dalton can be successful if they put a great roster around him. 

Dalton is a good NFL quarterback, but he's not in the same stratosphere as Rivers. A trade with the Chargers could be the shot in the arm the Bengals organization needs to get over the hump. 

Rivers hasn't had a great roster in a long time. In fact, he's been elevating average, to below-average Chargers teams for years. The Bengals would give him a chance to win. That may sound like a funny sentence, but Rivers has never had a wide receiver like Green. He's never been able to rely on his defense in critical moments. He would get the benefit of both in Cincinnati. 

The majority of the league should be interested in Rivers. He's one of the top quarterbacks and still playing at a very high level. The Bengals should reach out to the Chargers and see if they'd be interested in one of their two young quarterbacks. This is a no-brainer. The Bengals should do whatever it takes to improve. That includes going after the five-time pro bowler.

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