With the NFL Draft coming at the end of the month, the world of the NFL is abuzz with rumor. We all know that nothing spurs the sale of NFL tickets like a hot young quarterback riding into town. Sometimes it pans out and sometimes it doesn’t. For instance, when Andrew Luck went to Indianapolis, Colts fans responded enthusiastically despite the fact that they had Peyton Manning, a crippled Peyton Manning but Peyton Manning nonetheless. That situation worked out. It happened in Washington with the signing of Robert Griffin III. That hasn’t worked out as well.
Now we hear talk of Philip Rivers being boxed up and traded to the Tennessee Titans, giving San Diego the pick that would bring them Marcus Mariota. Does this really make any sense? To begin with we have to analyze what happens if they don’t trade Rivers. The Pro Bowl quarterback doesn’t seem happy about the possible move to Los Angeles so that weighs in on the deal. Secondly, Rivers is 34 years old and while still playing well, is nearing the end of his life cycle in the NFL. He’s also nearing the end of his contract and if he doesn’t want to go to LA, well, he walks for nothing. This may be a case of getting something while you can.
It also makes some sense for the Tennessee Titans. Rivers could give them an experienced veteran for another three years or so. Does that make better sense than drafting the unproven Mariota? Many think so. Still, giving up a prime draft pick for three declining veteran years isn’t a great deal. If this trade was to happen the Titans would also have to get a high pick for Rivers in the deal. There are some deals that make sense and some that don’t. The biggest unknown in this scenario is exactly how Philip Rivers feels about going to LA. If he won’t, the Chargers should cut bait and try and get Mariota.
The NFL Draft will raise the profile of some teams and their ticket sales. If Mariota comes on board in San Diego we expect Chargers tickets to boom. If Jameis Winston goes to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we expect Bucs tickets to boom. Right now the weak teams in the NFL are setting a course for improvement over the long term and they’ll do it by wheeling and dealing in the NFL Draft. NFL ticket sales will tell us what the fans think when the dust settles.