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April 15, 2015

What they're saying: Chargers to trade Rivers for Mariota?

Eagles NFL
041515PhilipRivers Charlie Riedel/AP

Rivers to... the Titans?

If indeed the Eagles are planning to make a strong play for Marcus Mariota in the 2015 draft, their biggest competition may come in the form of a surprise team, the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers. According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune, the Chargers should go all in on Mariota, and use Rivers as trade bait to make it happen.

There are numerous people in the organization dreading a move to L.A. as much as Rivers is. Everyone knows it is possible – some even believe likely – the team will move in 2016 or ’17.
The only real control the Chargers have with their quarterback is now, this offseason.
So – and this is difficult to think, let alone write – they need to trade Rivers.
If Monday night’s dinner and Tuesday’s workout in Eugene, Ore., are everything the Chargers expect, and they see in former Oregon star Marcus Mariota a possible franchise quarterback, they should do what they can to trade up and draft him.
The Chargers should get the No.2 pick from the Tennessee Titans, select Mariota, then take a running back with the No.17 pick. Start over in a big way.
Yes, the Chargers in all likelihood would keep their first round pick should they deal Rivers to Tennessee. They may, according to some around the league, have to throw in a selection in a later round. But people are really just speculating, since there is no precedent for trading a quarterback of Rivers’ stature at this juncture in his career for a draft pick(s).

Rivers for Mariota is an interesting scenario, and one that makes sense for the Chargers, but I don't see how it makes much sense for the Titans.

The Titans might be the worst team in the NFL. They have nothing. Seriously... Without looking up their roster, name five Titans. Is a team with nothing going to build around a 33 year old QB? By the time they get enough good players around him, there's a pretty good chance Rivers will begin to decline. The only way this makes any sense at all to the Titans is if the coaching staff and front office are content to improve their win total by showing improved (although empty) short term results to prolong the lifespan of their jobs. But this isn't how you win a Super Bowl.

In terms of compensation, not only are the Titans going to trade the #2 overall pick for Rivers, but they're not even going to get the Chargers' first round pick in the process? Come on. Personally, I like Rivers more than most, and think there's even an argument that right now, he's the third best quarterback in the NFL behind Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. But again, the Titans have nothing. I can't imagine a scenario in which the Titans aren't picking in the first round of this draft... at all.

Also... Yes, I'm aware you all have Mariota fatigue by now. Only 15 days left. Hang in there.

Another QB to consider - Tommy Lawlor,

The following tweet by appeared a couple days ago: 

That prompted Tommy to share his thoughts on Grayson:

Grayson played at Colorado State and had an outstanding Senior season. He went to the Senior Bowl and was the best QB down there, although he wasn’t facing murderer’s row.
Grayson has NFL talent, but I’ve gone back and forth on whether I like him or not. I watch one game and don’t like him. Then I watch another and I feel differently.
He throws a good deep ball. He makes some good throws over the middle in traffic. He shows good accuracy and seems to be a smart decision-maker. He’s not reckless, but will take some chances. Grayson had a good workout at his Pro Day, but I didn’t see that athleticism on the field with any consistency.

I agree Grayson was the best QB at the Senior Bowl, but the only real competition he had there was Bryce Petty. Grayson was the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year in 2014, and his numbers were excellent. He was fifth in the nation with a QB rating of 166.2, as well as second in yards per pass attempt, at 9.5. Mariota was first in both categories, just FYI.

Tommy also listed his top five QBs. Worth a look.

Schedule release could be coming soon

According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, the NFL could release the schedule next Thursday:

It's kind of funny to me that the schedule release gets so much attention, seeing as every team's opponents are already known. But people love it. Here are the Eagles' 2015 opponents:

Home Away 

There is also added intrigue with the Eagles this year, and whether or not they will play the Patriots Week 1 in the Thursday night kickoff game. It would appear the only other team worthy of that kind of prime time exposure is the Steelers. I made the argument a couple months ago that the Eagles are bigger money makers, and therefore will be more appealing to the TV networks.

The Steelers have a rabid fan base that "travels well" with their "Terrible Towels," but their popularity doesn't translate to a national TV audience. In 2014, the highest rated Steelers game ranked 35th in terms of viewing audience. Here were their top five ratings grabbers, via TV by the numbers:

Rating Program Viewers 
 32CBS &NFLN Thursday Night Football (Steelers-Ravens), 9/11/14 20.8 million 
 33CBS Sunday National (Mostly Colts-Steelers), 10/26/14  20.8 million 
 34NBC Sunday Night Football (Bengals-Steelers), 12/28/14 20.7 million 
 38NBC Sunday Night Football (Steelers-Panthers), 9/21/14 19.8 million 
 47CBS Sunday Single (mostly Dolphins-Pats, Steelers-Falcons), 12/14/14 18.7 million 

The Eagles, by comparison, cracked the top 20 a whopping five times, including the #1 overall rated game of the season:

Rating Program Viewers 
 1FOX Thanksgiving Day (Eagles-Cowboys), 11/27/14 32.0 million 
 11FOX Sunday National (mostly Eagles-Packers), 11/16/14 26.5 million 
 14FOX Sunday National (mostly Eagles-Seahawks), 12/7/14 25.9 million 
 16FOX Sunday National (mostly Eagles-49ers), 9/28/14 25.9 million 
 18NBC Sunday Night Football (Cowboys-Eagles), 12/14/14 24.3 million 

While the argument can certainly be made that the opponents the Eagles faced above are higher profile teams than the ones the Steelers faced, the Eagles still produced far bigger numbers when they were in prime spots. The Steelers were unable to carry big numbers on their own. From the TV Network perspective, the Eagles feel like the safer choice if they want as many viewers as possible. Oh, and the Eagles also kinda had a crazy offseason, and they're about as entertaining a team to watch as there is in the NFL. So there's that, too. 

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski