SDUT: Feeley deal about '05

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA
Getting QB probably not prelude to trading Rivers in offseason

October 21, 2005

The knee-jerk reaction was to wish Philip Rivers well, to tell him to enjoy San Diego's sunshine and mild climate for another four or five months, then put out the "For Sale" sign and prepare to move his year-round residence to another city.

That was the consensus Tuesday when the Chargers traded for Miami third-string quarterback A.J. Feeley. The deal was viewed as a possible precursor to the Chargers dealing Rivers in the offseason.

A few words of advice: Don't look for the moving vans at the Rivers home anytime soon.

While Rivers still could be traded before next season – particularly if starter Drew Brees continues to play at a Pro Bowl level – the reality is that the deal for Feeley was more about this season than next year. Want evidence? Think back to last season.

After designating Rivers the backup for most of the 2004 season, coach Marty Schottenheimer promoted No. 3 QB Doug Flutie into that spot a couple of weeks before the playoffs. Schottenheimer wanted protection in case Brees was lost to injury. He wanted a player with burn scars, someone who had been through the fires and could shrug off the pressure of the moment, not someone who had never taken a meaningful snap in an NFL game.

One season later, nothing has changed, save for Flutie signing with the New England Patriots. The Chargers still expect to challenge for the playoffs again; Rivers still has not taken a meaningful snap as a pro; General Manager A.J. Smith still likes the idea of having an experienced reserve quarterback for the stretch run – not to mention the sixth-round draft choice that came in the deal.

Feeley has appeared in 18 games, 13 of them starts. He bombed with the Dolphins last year after being acquired in a trade with Philadelphia, but he showed flashes of promise in 2003 while starting five games for the Eagles.

No one in the Chargers organization has said Feeley will be promoted ahead of Rivers late in the year should Brees go down; in fact, the odds favor Rivers getting the nod because of his familiarity with the offense and his talent. But Feeley's presence gives the team options, something Smith values as much as draft choices.

A personnel chief with another team called the acquisition of Feeley "brilliant," primarily because there is no downside for San Diego. Financially, the Chargers are responsible for only $349,412 of Feeley's base salary this season. He's scheduled to earn $3.5 million next year, but there isn't a team that would pay him that amount to be a backup. So come the offseason, Feeley will take a pay cut or take a hike, simple as that.

All the talk about his arrival having something to do with River's eventual departure – or even Brees' potential dismissal – ignores the fact that San Diego has ample room to carry both Brees and Rivers on next season's salary cap. And Smith is unlikely to consider dealing either player without a capable backup in place – and he would not have one if Feeley balked at a salary cut for 2006.

No doubt, it's great fun to try to connect the dots and read between the lines when it comes to the Feeley deal. Seemingly every football fan in San Diego has done it this week, hypothesizing that Feeley was brought in to back up Brees next year, or that he was acquired to be the veteran backup for Rivers in 2006. But sometimes the correct answer is the most obvious choice. In this case, that means that Feeley was brought in for 2005, not 2006. End of intrigue. End of story.