Wednesday whys: No complaints from Rivers

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Why was it expected that Philip Rivers would sign a mega-contract extension prior to the start of the season?

Rivers was the other shoe to drop after the Eli Manning extension in New York. With the market set the past year and quarterbacks such as David Garrard, Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Cassel receiving guaranteed money in the $20-million range, with APY(average per year) in the $10-million range, the stage was set for these two to do their deals. As the Chargers and Giants noted, there was not going to be much in the way of new comparables over the season to influence where the market might go.

The complicating factor in all negotiations now, of course, is the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement after next season, a season that presently does not include a salary cap. Were the Giants or the Chargers to allow these contracts to expire, they would face the prospect of (1) losing the player in free agency to a team with deep pockets to spend on the rarest of assets – a franchise quarterback not under contract; or (2) placing the franchise tag on the players in an uncertain environment in 2010 and – even more so – beyond.

The Chargers still have a long shopping list of their own free agents in 2010, including Shawne Merriman, Darren Sproles, Vincent Jackson, Chris Chambers and Marcus McNeill. Bringing Rivers under contract is a key first step in what could be in an interesting year ahead for the team’s fortunes and finances.

The Rivers extension lasts through 2015 and is worth $98M, with $38M guaranteed. It’s eerily similar to the recent deal for Eli Manning in APY over the first three years: $16.95 million for Manning and $16.75 million for Rivers. The guarantee amount is larger than that given to Manning and is the largest guaranteed quarterback money in the history of football, not including a QB who has yet to take a real snap in the NFL, Matthew Stafford.

Rivers can’t complain about Stafford, however. For one, Stafford’s deal probably helped his negotiation. Also, Rivers was once one of those top-pick contracts that everyone complained about, a player making more than most veterans without having played a game.

The enormity of rookie contracts has helped Manning and Rivers, not only when they were the ones with those contracts but now that they can point to the more recent ones to help their leverage.

Why has there been no discussion of extensions for the league’s two true superstar quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning?

These two players, arguably the most important players in the game, have contracts that expire not at the end of this year but at the end of next year. As they watch other players with a fraction of their accomplishments get rewarded with extensions, they have to be wondering when their time will come.

Of course, these A-list players are making top-tier money even for deals signed in 2004 (Manning, $14M average) and 2005 (Brady, $10M average). However, we need not be na

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