Team needs: Will it be Whitehurst or a rookie in 2014?

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After winning the AP Comeback Player of the Year, it is pretty obvious that Philip Rivers isn’t going anywhere. The San Diego signal caller has a lot left in the tank and is more than capable of winning a Super Bowl. While starting quarterback won’t be a position the Chargers worry about for many years, the Bolts enter 2014 with some question marks at the backup position.

Charlie Whitehurst is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March, and the other quarterback on the roster is Brad Sorensen, a seventh round pick in 2013 with great size and good tools to compete at the highest level.

The one thing I have never understood about the NFL is the preference to have mediocre veterans as backup quarterbacks. Most teams love to have a guy like Patrick Ramsey, Caleb Hanie, or Seneca Wallace backing up their franchise quarterback. These veterans are capable of learning an offense and making good decisions, however, a lot of these guys have proven their inability to win in the NFL. These type of backups keep the ship from sinking when the starter goes down, but don’t keep the ship moving forward. Personally, I would always like to have a young backup with the capability of developing into a star. Young quarterbacks without experience could develop into a winner à la Tom Brady, but the lack of experience could prove disastrous.

With that being said, the Chargers have a big decision to make when it comes to Whitehurst. The veteran has only started four games (1-3), but won a virtual playoff game for the Seahawks in 2010. Whitehurst hasn’t shown he can’t win at the NFL level, but also will likely command $2-$4 million in salary. For a Bolts team in need of a lot of help defensively, this premium cost for a backup quarterback may not be worth the trouble. San Diego could draft a quarterback commanding only roughly $500k in salary, and have a young player with something to prove. Many of the quarterbacks in this year’s draft have excellent scrambling ability, and if Rivers were to go down, adding the scrambling dimension could help the Chargers offense confuse defenses.

Aside from Whitehurst, I really like what I saw out of Sorensen in preseason last year. The rookie threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns. If we know anything from Tom Telesco’s first draft class, it’s that he seems to know how to evaluate talent at the collegiate level. I will be interested to see if Sorensen, who didn’t get a lot of exposure at Southern Utah, could develop into something special.

Regardless of Sorensen’s development, the Chargers have to make a decision on Whitehurst. If they are looking to save some cap space, it only seems logical for San Diego to take a quarterback in the draft. With an extremely deep draft at the quarterback position, the Bolts could bring home a big steal.


Meet the three new coaches San Diego hired on Monday.


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