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There are plenty of cliches about how you build a winning football team. Some believe that defense wins championships; others feel that you need to establish your running game before anything else. In the modern NFL, however, most success stems from a franchise quarterback. Philip Rivers was that man for the Los Angeles Chargers, but his time as their starter seems to be coming to an end.

The 2020 offseason hasn’t officially started yet, but the Chargers are apparently ready to make a change. It seems like Philip Rivers won’t be playing in Southern California anymore.

Philip Rivers’ time with the Chargers organization

While the Los Angeles Chargers haven’t been the most stable franchise off the field, they’ve had consistency where it matters. Since the 2006 season, Philip Rivers has been ever-present under center.

The Chargers, of course, didn’t initially want to select Rivers, but Eli Manning refused to come to California. A draft-day deal, however, helped both parties get what they wanted; Manning joined the New York Giants, while the Chargers received the rights to Philip Rivers and some additional picks.

There were still some bumps in the road, however. A contract dispute meant that Rivers didn’t join up with the team until the final week of training camp; that meant Drew Brees, who wasn’t happy about the Chargers’ draft pick in the first place, kept the starting job. He stayed under center until the end of the 2005 season when he suffered a career-threatening injury.

From then on, the rest is history. Rivers took over the top spot on the depth chart; Drew Brees would join the New Orleans Saints in free agency. While the Chargers haven’t been able to get over the hump, it hasn’t been the quarterback’s fault. Rivers has played 228 games for the club, throwing for almost 60,000 yards and 397 touchdowns.

The Chargers are reportedly ready to move on

Once the 2020 NFL season officially starts, Philip Rivers will be a free agent. While there was speculation that the quarterback could retire, the veteran insisted he wasn’t ready to call it a career. It seems like he’ll have to find a new team, though.

Earlier in January, ESPN reported that Rivers and his family had left California and relocated to Florida. While the quarterback simply said they wanted to move closer to home, the move seemed to cast his future in California in doubt. When the Chargers moved to Los Angeles, Rivers and his family remained in San Diego; commuting across the country, though, is different than driving 120 miles up I-5.

The feelings, it seems, are mutual. During an appearance on “The Herd,” Fox’s Jay Glazer reported that the Chargers have “moved on” from their franchise quarterback. Depending on their timeline, the club will either need to sign a veteran in free agency or look for a long-term successor in the draft.

Philip Rivers should have plenty of options as a free agent

If we believe what Philip Rivers said at the end of the regular season, he has no intention of retiring. So where will he be playing his football next season?

At this point, there are simply too many balls in the air to be sure. Rivers could return to the AFC West and join the Raiders if the club decides to move on from Derek Carr; Las Vegas, however, isn’t close to Florida, and the team could also be courting Tom Brady. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also seem to be a potential match, assuming they’re tired of Jameis Winston’s turnovers. Beyond those options, teams like the Bears and Panthers could even be in the mix, depending on how the dominoes fall in free agency.

The official start of NFL free agency is still months away, so don’t expect a resolution anytime soon. When the season starts, however, Philip Rivers should be suiting up for his first game with a new team.