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Contract Forecast: Philip Rivers

Contract Forecast: Philip Rivers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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Contract Forecast: Philip Rivers

One of the more polarizing stories this offseason has been the current and future status of Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers, whose 6 year $91.8 million contract is set to expire after the 2015 season. Rivers has made it clear that should the Chargers relocate, he does not intend to join them - sparking rumors of trades to a variety of teams. We'll put all that aside and take a look at the current value or Rivers, as one way or another, he'll be in need of a new contract come next year (wherever he may be).

Comparable Quarterbacks
To generate a prediction the Spotrac team determined that the following quarterbacks were viable targets to use in comparing with Rivers. The key was to locate players with similar numbers, who signed their second contract around his current age (33). Here's a look at the new money for each extension signed by each. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract breakdown listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Guaranteed Age When Signed
Tony Romo  6 $108,000,000 $18,000,000 $55,000,000 33
Ben Roethlisberger  4 $87,400,000 $21,850,000 $31,000,000 33
Drew Brees  5 $100,000,000 $20,000,000 $40,000,000 33
Peyton Manning 5 $96,000,000 $19,200,000 $58,000,000 36
Averages 5 $97,850,000 $19,762,500 $46,000,000 33.75
At 33 years old, Rivers is right inline with our variable quarterbacks when they signed their deals. We'll adjust the contract of Peyton Manning down to reflect each as if it were signed at the age of 33, providing a better scope for our base prediction.

Related:  View the list of Top Average Paid Quarterbacks in the NFL
Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
5 $96,941,176 $19,388,235

Statistical Analysis

To derive the most complete set of production comparisons, we'll use Games/Season, QB Rating/Season, Passing Yards/Game, Passing TDs/Season, INT/ Season, and Completion %/Season. To assess how well the player was performing prior to signing their respective contract, we'll show the averages of these statistics two years prior to their signing date. The two-year analysis will give us a "Prime Percentage", showing how well that player was performing when the contract was signed in relation to his overall career.

Tony Romo (2011-12, DAL) 16 95.8 284 30 14.5 65.9
Ben Roethlisberger (2013-14, PIT) 16 97.8 287.9 30 12 65.7
Drew Brees (2010-11, NO) 16 100.7 315.5 40 18 69.7
Peyton Manning (2009-10, IND) 16 95.5 287.5 33 16.5 67.4
AVERAGES 16 97.45 293.725 33.25 15.25 67.175
Philip Rivers (2013-14, SD) 16 99.5 273.9 32 14 68
% Change 0.00% 2.10% -6.75% -3.76% 8.20% 1.23%
Statistically speaking Rivers' is on par with our variable quarterbacks when it's all said and done. While his yards and touchdowns are a bit below scale, his efficiency numbers balance him out. It's a pretty safe push here. We'll factor these Prime Percentage into our base numbers.

Guaranteed Money
Rivers has started every game for the Chargers since the 2006 season - an incredible run.He's shown durability, and has put together consistent, winning seasons throughout his career. Only his age should be a deterrant when considering guaranteed dollars, but for all intents - he should max out.
Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Tony Romo  $108,000,000 $55,000,000 50.93%
Ben Roethlisberger $87,400,000 $31,000,000 35.47%
Drew Brees  $100,000,000 $40,000,000 40.00%
Peyton Manning  $96,000,000 $58,000,000 60.4%
Adjusted Regression 47%

Length of the Contract
Most of the elite quarterbacks are signing contracts that take them through the 38 years of age, meaning a 4-5 year contract for Rivers makes sense. We'll assume 5 based on his durability.

Value of the Contract
Our initial base terms brought forth an average annual salary just over $19.3M per year, a figure that would make him the 6th highest average paid quarterback in football. When factoring in our prime percentages, we're given an overall annual base salary of $19,762,500.

Quick Thoughts
Mathematically speaking, Rivers values at slightly less than $20M per year, leaving him with an annual average salary below Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, and Drew Brees. It's likely that he's able to negotiate himself closer to $21M per year, just under the $21.85M Big Ben just received from the Steelers. In terms of guaranteed dollars, the sky should be the limit. For purposes of this valuation we've assessed that 47% of his contract should be guaranteed.

Spotrac's Prediction: 5 years, $98,812,500
Average annual salary $19,762,500, estimated $46,441,875 guaranteed

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