Quarterback is one of the few positions where the San Diego Chargers could enter 2014 with the exact same cast they currently have. In other words, these guys:
|Player||Age*||Signed Through||2014 Cap Number||Cap Savings|
* - Age as of September 1, 2014
You may notice something about this chart...
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Charlie Whitehurst's contract has expired, making him an unrestricted free agent. With a $1.8 million cap number in 2013, and likely a similar figure in 2014, I have a hard time seeing the Chargers bringing Whitehurst back.
Charlie was a favorite of the previous regime, who spent a third round pick on him back in 2006, dealt him to Seattle, and then re-signed him prior to the 2012/2013 season. Whitehurst will likely leave the Chargers having never thrown a pass for the franchise in a regular season game.
Charlie Whitehurst has become a fan favorite and adorns far too many BFTB memes to accurately count, and for those reasons he'll be missed. I think we can all agree, though, that should Philip suffer an injury, we're screwed even if we have Charlie playing instead of a less experienced option, like Sorensen. Logistically, it makes sense to spend this cap room elsewhere.
With the rare exception of the Manning/Luck situation in Indianapolis, quarterbacks of Rivers' quality aren't cut. And with good reason: it would cost a lot more than the $13.8 million the Chargers would save to replace Rivers' production. Even a successful gamble on a quarterback prospect in free agency would still leave a margin of production that wouldn't likely be made up by that extra cap space. Simply put: Philip Rivers will be the Chargers quarterback in 2014.
Sorensen is certainly cuttable, in terms of production, but cutting him doesn't make much sense. Cap savings for a player earning basically nothing is a bit of a misnomer: the Chargers would still have to employ another quarterback, who would earn more than the Chargers stand to save by cutting Sorensen. Brad Sorensen was the first quarterback Telesco selected as the San Diego Chargers' General Manager and I don't suspect he'll dump him after one season when there isn't anything to gain by doing so.
The main thing to look for here are connections that available quarterbacks have to our new regime.
Telesco was Director of Player Personnel in Indianapolis when the Colts drafted Curtis Painter in 2009. Other quarterbacks the Colts brought in behind Peyton Manning while Telesco was in Indianapolis: Jim Sorgi, Kerry Collins, and Dan Orlovsky. Both Painter and Orlovsky are active NFL players who are unrestricted free agents in 2014. It's possible one of these two are brought in to give the Chargers an option more experienced than Sorensen.
Mike McCoy has connections to several quarterbacks from his days in Denver: Kyle Orton, Chris Simms, Tom Brandstater, Brady Quinn, and Tim Tebow. Brandstater, who was also on Telesco's practice squad back in 2010, has been out of the NFL since 2012 and can be safely dismissed. Same with Chris Simms, who is now a commentator for FOX's NCAA Football coverage. Orton is signed in Dallas through 2014, so that eliminates his name from consideration, leaving just Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn.
I wouldn't eliminate Tebow as a possibility altogether, because of that connection, but I would be extremely surprised, for what should be obvious reasons, if he was brought in. Quinn, who is also a free agent, is even less likely seeing as McCoy skipped over Quinn on the depth chart when Orton was pulled in 2011. Brady Quinn actually never played in a regular season game under Mike McCoy.
If the Chargers opt against bringing in one of those connected players, the new quarterback would be either out-of-the-blue or via the NFL Draft.
While Telesco was with the Colts, the highest the team ever selected a quarterback to sit behind its franchise quarterback was the 6th round, where they selected both Jim Sorgi in 2004 and Curtis Painter in 2009. I would therefore be surprised, also noting the Chargers' depth needs, if the Chargers spent anything of value on a quarterback in the 2014 draft. Especially since they basically already grabbed a Sorgi/Painter-like selection last year in Brad Sorensen.
And if the Chargers decide to draft and develop someone, I would expect it to be closer to how the Chiefs spent a flier on Tyler Bray last season than something like the Ryan Mallett selection. One guy who could potentially fit that bill: Casey Pachall.
I guess what should be taken out of this is that the Chargers will not spend an early pick on a quarterback, are very unlikely to spend a mid-round pick on a quarterback, and would be very quickly admitting a mistake with Sorensen if they draft a quarterback late in '14. Like I stated above: I suspect they won't pick a quarterback.
What you see is what you will probably get: Philip Rivers and Brad Sorensen. There are several free agents, though, with links to Chargers front office and coaching members: Dan Orlovsky, Curtis Painter, and Tim Tebow.
What may be the most likely quarterback scenario to unfold for the Chargers this offseason would be an extension or contract restructure for Philip, giving the team further room in 2014 and keeping Rivers a Charger past 2015.