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Blog Entry

Chargers GM talks Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade

Posted on: July 1, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 4:12 pm
 
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Chargers general manager AJ Smith is known as much for his ability to identify talent and assemble a roster as he is for his sometimes stubborn disposition.

He refused to give wide receiver Vincent Jackson a new contract last offseason, and Jackson ended up holding out for the first two months of the season. When Jackson finally returned in Week 12 (he had to first serve a three-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy), it was without a new contract but the Chargers were 6-5. They would eventually miss the playoffs, and although most of that was because of their dreadful defense special teams, Jackson's absence certainly didn't help.

(Edit: the commenters rightly point out that it was special teams -- not the defense -- that cost the Chargers a shot at the playoffs last season. My brain was thinking "special teams" but my fingers typed "defense." To hammer home the point, Football Outsiders ranked San Diego offense fourth, their defense seventh, and special teams ... 32nd.)

In 2005, Smith placed Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates on the "roster exempt" list for the season opener against the Cowboys because Gates wouldn't sign his one-year exclusive rights free-agent offer of $380,000. The two sides eventually came to a resolution but not before San Diego lost to Dallas. The most famous example of Smith vs. uncooperative Chargers player came the year before, when the team selected Eli Manning with the first-overall pick of the 2004 draft even though Manning said he'd rather sit out the season than play in San Diego.

Smith, undeterred, drafted Manning anyway. About an hour after Manning stood on stage with that "Did this really just happen?" look on his face while holding a Chargers jersey, Smith traded him to the Giants for Philip Rivers, and draft picks that would later become Shawne Merriman, Nate Kaeding and Roman Oben.

Despite the Chargers getting the most out of that trade, all most people remember is that Manning and the Giants won a Super Bowl in 2007. In a recent interview with Sporting News, Smith talked about Rivers and Manning. 

"I believe with my heart and soul that [Rivers] one day will lead the Chargers to a world championship," Smith said. “He’s a great quarterback—a phenomenal leader with great character, great work habits.”

No one disputes that. In fact, Football Outsiders ranked Rivers as the NFL's third-best quarterback in 2010, behind Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Eli ranked 16th, behind Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel. If nothing else, it reinforces the importance of surrounding your franchise quarterback with playmakers at the skill position and a good defense.

As for how Smith feels about Manning seven years after drafting him … well, let's just say he's still a little bitter. "He was a Charger for 45 minutes and that was too much time to be a Charger, in my opinion."

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Comments

Since: Feb 12, 2007
Posted on: July 1, 2011 4:58 pm
 

Chargers GM talks Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade

The best QB of that draft was neither of those 2 guys though.    So who really won?
Ben = 2 rape allegations
Eli = 0 rape allegations
Phillip = 0 rape allegations

I'm going with San Diego on this one.  At least Rivers isn't a douchebag.   



Since: Aug 12, 2006
Posted on: July 1, 2011 4:00 pm
 

Chargers GM talks Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade

 
They would eventually miss the playoffs, and although most of that was because of their dreadful defense,



First in yards and 10th in points, wow that was a terrible defense. Special teams and untimely penaties did that team in.  



Since: Jan 21, 2007
Posted on: July 1, 2011 3:59 pm
 

Chargers GM talks Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade

Obiviously, Ryan Wilson has it all wrong: It wasn't a dreadful defense that kept the Chargers out of the playoffs, it was the pathetic, dreadful special teams play. Look at last year's special team stats and the numbers said it all: Three TD kickoff returns, one TD punt return , and four Mike Scifres punts blocked against special teams. That's why Steve Crosby got sacked from his position as special teams coach and why the Chargers drafted players that have special team skills.



Since: Mar 1, 2009
Posted on: July 1, 2011 3:41 pm
 

Chargers GM talks Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade

Didn't Vincent Jackson's agent call AJ Smith the "Lord of No Rings" last year? That's funny stuff. In his defense though, the Chargers GM probably did the best he could with the Eli Manning situation. The Chargers received significant contributions from that group of players they eventually acquired in return.



Since: Mar 21, 2007
Posted on: July 1, 2011 1:57 pm
 

Chargers GM talks Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade

The "rings" argument is very tired... in all sports.  I truly believe that Philip is an ace QB and if he was on that 2007 Giants team he would have won the SB too and if he was on the Steeler teams of the 2000's i bet Philip would have 5 rings LOL.  I've been a patient fan for decades and i think the River's era Chargers will get it done eventually.  That 83' QB draft class will still be better than the 04' class IMO 



Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: July 1, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Chargers GM talks Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade

Come on now - quit hiding behind the championship metric as a means to measure a QB.  Big Ben didn't lose the SB's - thats true, but the Defense is what got you guys there, and won it for you.  You watched the games - so you know it as well as the rest of us.

For raw QB skills - passing, defense reading, decision making, etc - of the 3 QB's in that class, Rivers is the most talented.  He also doesn't have a ring.  Defense wins Championships....




Since: Feb 16, 2007
Posted on: July 1, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Chargers GM talks Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade

The best QB of that draft was neither of those 2 guys though.    So who really won?

Ben 2 rings
Eli   1 ring.
Philip 0.



Since: May 31, 2007
Posted on: July 1, 2011 11:44 am
 

Chargers GM talks Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade

Frankly, I think Rivers is every bit as good as (if not better than) Eli Manning.  I honestly believe that if the Giants had Rivers instead of Manning, they still would have won that Super Bowl.  QB is not the Chargers problem, and they got other good players in the exchange besides (well, Merriman was amazing for awhile, anyway... and Kaeding does a fine job).  It was a good trade... it's other things that didn't work out that have kept them from the championship so far.


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