Tom Telesco: ‘Contract Had Been In Works For A Long Time’

Not long after signing Philip Rivers to a four-year, $83.25-million extension Monday, San Diego Chargers general manager Tom Telesco dropped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss Rivers, the deal and the future of the franchise.

“Truthfully, (the contract) really had been in the works a long time – going way back,” Telesco said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Sometimes these deals come together very quickly and sometimes they move at glacier pace. This one was the latter, but it’s a big contract. There’s a lot of money involved, a lot of different moving parts, but it was very professional. We just kept moving after it and eventually got it done. But the big thing is, both sides had the same vision, the same agenda of what they wanted to accomplish. So that was the biggest part and eventually we got it done.”

Rivers, 33, has been San Diego’s starter since 2006 and was entering the final year of his contract. It was unknown whether he would sign an extension with the Chargers with the franchise potentially moving to Los Angeles.

“I spoke with Philip a lot throughout this process,” Telesco said. “I really believe in communicating with him through this to make sure everybody’s on the same page. We can’t always control what’s said on the outside, but we can control what’s said on the inside. So all of my conversations with Philip through this whole process have been great, and we’ve all had the same vision of what we wanted to get done. It took some time, but sometimes these do. Franchise-quarterback contracts do typically take some time, but the end result was what everybody wanted.”

Rivers’ contract includes $65 million in guarantees – the highest in the NFL. This comes just weeks after Russell Wilson signed an extension with the Seahawks that included $60 million in guarantees.

Is this just the nature of professional sports, guys always wanting to one-up each other?

“Well, you have to go on market value, and Philip is one of the top quarterbacks in the league,” Telesco said. “It’s also supply and demand. There just aren’t very many quarterbacks like him. We feel No. 1, he can lead us to a championship and No. 2, he conducts himself with such class off the field and such great character. Quarterbacks like that are in demand. That’s why the numbers tend to go where they go.”

It’s also why the Chargers might be moving to Los Angeles. The demand for an NFL team in that market is extremely high, and the Chargers are one of three teams in the supply mix.

Telesco, however, isn’t letting the uncertainty get to him – or the franchise.

“We’re not naive to the situation,” he said. “We know what’s going on. But the great thing in football – I guess all professional sports – is we’re very focused people by nature. We all know we can only control what we control. Players play, coaches coach and the rest of us just do our own jobs. This league is so competitive and so hard to win that if you don’t have that mindset, it’s going to make it even harder. So like I said, we know stuff’s going on out there, but we know we can control the product on the field – and we have to win.”

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