The Los Angeles Chargers have had the same quarterback since 2006, as Philip Rivers has started every game for the franchise over that time. Rivers led the Chargers to a 14-2 record in 2006, but they lost to the New England Patriots at home in the divisional round of the playoffs. That would be the best regular season that the Chargers would turn in under Rivers; in 2007, the team would advance to the AFC Championship. Since then, the Chargers have not contended for a title despite making occasional playoff appearances. The long run of Rivers with the Chargers has come to an end, as he has moved on to Indianapolis to try and resurrect his career by leading the Colts’ offense. In the aftermath of that change, the Chargers saw their odds of winning Super Bowl LV drop from 30/1 to 40/1, even with the Cardinals, Rams, Bears, Browns and Raiders. Let’s take a look at the moves that pushed the Chargers down the odds list, starting with a closer look at the Rivers move, along with the updated NFL Odds and Super Bowl Odds.
NFL: L.A. Chargers Change in Super Bowl Odds after Free Agency Wave #1
Initially, the Chargers were interested in signing Tom Brady once it became clear that Brady was not interested in returning to New England. Brady’s top three teams included the Chargers along with San Francisco and Tampa Bay. Once the 49ers made it clear that they wanted to stick with Jimmy Garoppolo, that left the Chargers and Buccaneers as the top two contenders, but the Buccaneers made the sweeter offer — and were closer to Boston, where Brady retains a lot of ties. Losing Rivers means that the top quarterback on the Chargers’ roster is Tyrod Taylor, and it does not look for now that the Chargers are going to go after one of the big available names, such as Jameis Winston or Cam Newton, or even Andy Dalton, but we will see if that changes.
After learning that Brady was headed to Tampa, they went out and inked right tackle Bryan Bulaga to a three-year, $30 million deal. He was the second-highest graded tackle according to Pro Football Focus, but they spent less than the Jets and Lions did on O-linemen who have been backups their careers. Bulaga should move into the starting line ahead of Sam Tevi.
The Chargers also got a great deal in their contract for Chris Harris Jr., one of the top nickel cornerbacks in the league. The contract is two years for $20 million, a real value for one of the important contributors to Denver’s contending teams. He has 20 career interceptions, along with 518 career tackles. The team had lost Adrian Phillips to New England via free agency, so they needed a replacement. The current plan is to use him against slot receivers and add more playmaking to the unit. One priority for the Chargers’ defense next year is to generate more turnovers. The Chargers still need another outside corner to play across from Casey Hayward, and they are likely to address that in the draft.
Another key addition for the Chargers was Linval Joseph, a nose tackle who came in via free agency from the Minnesota Vikings. The deal is for two years at $17 million. Most nose tackles don’t get much notice because they spend the game dealing with double teams, but Joseph has been an exception, generating more than 500 tackles, including 50 for loss, and 24 sacks over the course of ten years. That is monster production for a nose tackle. Jerry Tillery and Justin Jones, along with him on the defensive line, should generate pressure in the passing game while stopping up holes in the running game as well. This is not quite as much of an upgrade as bringing in Bulaga to start ahead of Tevi, but this is a major improvement just the same. The Chargers have done a solid job of bringing in quality free agents for value contracts.