The Chargers’ quarterback position is probably the most stable in the entire NFL.
Philip Rivers has made every start for the team since 2006, playing through minor and major injuries. And since 2006, his backups haven’t been needed on Sundays.
The Chargers were looking to upgrade at the position just in case, and Sunday the team believes it did in agreeing to a one-year deal with veteran Geno Smith.
Smith, who visited with the Chargers last week, has 31 career starts in his five seasons in the NFL with the New York Jets and New York Giants.
Smith replaces Kellen Clemens, who spent four seasons with the Chargers.
Rivers is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he completed 62.6% of his passes for 4,515 yards with 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn was with the Jets when Smith joined that organization as a rookie starter in 2013.
Smith made one start last season —replacing Eli Manning for one game in a controversial December move. He performed well in a 24-17 loss to Oakland, completing 21 of 34 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown.
Smith floundered in two seasons as a full-time starter for the Jets, going 11-18 in 29 starts before he was benched. He threw 34 interceptions to 25 touchdowns in those two years.
He and Cardale Jones, whom the team acquired in training camp last season, are the current quarterbacks behind Rivers on the depth chart.
Last week at the owners’ meetings in Orlando, Lynn said Jones would get an opportunity to try to win the backup job.
“He’s going to get an opportunity,” Lynn said of Jones. “… That’s an intriguing guy.”
Smith is the latest signing in a fairly quiet free-agency period for the Chargers, headlined by the addition of center Mike Pouncey and kicker Caleb Sturgis.
The team also added tight end Virgil Green and defensive back Jaylen Watkins.