The term franchise player refers to someone who was drafted by a team and is seen as a player to build around for many years to come.
Here is my list of each NFL team's franchise player as of today.
What more could you want out of a franchise receiver than Larry Fitzgerald?
Fitz is a leader on and off the football field and was a big reason that the Cardinals were able to get to the Super Bowl after the 2008 season.
This guy has been one of the most consistent players at his position over the past eight seasons, and is also one of the best in the league as well.
He's had five seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards and has already caught 67 touchdowns in his career.
Matt Ryan was one of the most-hyped QB prospects in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Fortunately for the Falcons, he has lived up to the hype for the most part.
Ryan has thrown for 75 touchdowns in the last three-plus seasons and was named to his first Pro Bowl team in 2010.
Although he has been on and off so far this season, Atlanta would have never traded up to take wideout Julio Jones in April's draft if the team didn't think it already had a franchise QB on the current roster.
This was a tough decision for me.
I could have gone with either Joe Flacco or Ed Reed, but in the end, I chose the former Rutgers star.
Rice has been the driving force of the Ravens' offense the past two-plus seasons, as he has twice been named to the Pro Bowl and has racked up over 1,700 yards from scrimmage in each of the last two years.
Especially with Flacco's recent struggles, Rice is the future for the Ravens.
Alright, I cheated on this one.
I stated in the intro slide that all of the players on this list should only be players that were drafted by their respective team.
However, Ryan Fitzpatrick is clearly the Bills' franchise player, as he threw for over 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns last season, and just got signed to a huge contract by the Bills.
Who wasn't talking about this guy coming out of college?
Newton was one of the most highly-regarded QBs to enter the draft in the last 10 years.
And even though it's only a small sample size, he has proven to be a very explosive NFL quarterback through the first eight games of his career.
Carolina might have finally found a QB that can take them to the next level in the coming years.
Matt Forte might just be one of the least appreciated running backs in the league today.
He has rushed for nearly 4,000 yards in his three-plus seasons with the Bears, including 672 yards in just seven games in 2011.
When you add nearly 2,000 receiving yards to the total in the same time span, you have one of the most complete backs in the NFL.
I think it's time for Chicago to pay its franchise player now.
A.J. Green was supposed to be the offensive playmaker that would help bring the Bengals back to prominence this season, and in the future.
So far, he has done everything right in 2011.
The rookie wideout leads all rookies with 33 catches for 516 yards and five touchdowns for the 5-2 Bengals.
He has the talent and skill level to become a franchise legend and perennial Pro-Bowler for this organization.
This isn't necessarily a knock against McCoy because I think that he is a terrible QB, I just don't know if he is the franchise quarterback that Cleveland had hoped for.
However, the 25-year-old still has some upside and will likely have many more years to make the transition to the NFL.
The only problem is the Browns can't afford to wait on him.
ESPN even has the "Romocoaster", which is a reference to the up-and-down career of Romo.
However, at the end of the day, Dallas can't deny that Romo ultimately holds the keys to the fate of this franchise today and in the future.
Sure, he hasn't lived up to expectations yet considering he was a first-round pick in last year's draft, but it's still too early to tell.
The former Heisman Trophy winner has only started five games and hasn't even thrown 200 passes in his
Denver is hoping that Tebow will pan out because if he doesn't, they have just set the franchise even further back by drafting the ex-Florida star.
Truthfully speaking, I could have gone either way on this one.
Both are instrumental to the Detroit offense, but when it comes down to it, Johnson is the more consistent threat and is more of a game-changing player than Stafford.
"Megatron" is the face of this franchise and I don't see that changing for a long time.
He has poise in the pocket, is clutch under pressure, is a great leader and his accuracy is second to none for a QB in today's NFL.
Rodgers has also won his franchise a Super Bowl and hasn't even been the team's starter for five years.
The sky is the limit for Rogers and the Pack going forward, as we would be witnessing one of the best quarterbacks in league history.
For me, it was either Arian Foster or Andre Johnson for the Texans.
But in the end, I chose Johnson, who is easily one of the best receivers in the AFC.
He has been statistically one of the best receivers in all of football over the past three seasons, which is why his recent injury leaves a gaping hole in the Texans' passing game.
If he has a few more solid seasons after he comes back from injury, Johnson could be heading to Canton later down the road.
I'm probably going to get some flack for this one.
The main reason that I have Peyton Manning here is because he will always be their franchise player as long as he is still on their team.
No one has done more for the Colts organization than Manning, and there likely won't be any player that will be able to duplicate it in this franchise's future.
It's obvious that the Colts are lost without him, considering that they are 0-7 this season with Manning on the sidelines due to neck surgery.
Maurice Jones-Drew has been the most consistent part of the Jaguars over the past six seasons.
He is a very tough back to stop, considering the fact that he runs well, can catch passes out of the backfield and also does a good job blocking.
The UCLA product has also done a great job of helping to take the pressure of rookie QB Blaine Gabbert so far this season.
The KC safety was picked No. 5 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft and had a great rookie season last year.
He had nearly 100 tackles and four interceptions to help pave the way for his first Pro Bowl selection of his career.
Berry has all the intangibles that you want in a young safety: speed, power and leadership ability.
The former Tennessee star has a chance to be one of the best safeties in franchise history by the time his playing days are over.
Jake Long is arguably the best offensive tackle in the game today.
He's a three-time Pro-Bowler and has done an excellent job anchoring Miami's offensive line for the past three seasons.
With no apparent franchise QB or RB on the Dolphins right now, Long could be the team's franchise leader for many years to come.
I expect him to have a great NFL career and make many more Pro Bowls in the future.
Adrian Peterson is arguably the best running back in the NFL today.
He has the speed to burn any defense and the strength to bull over opposing defenders that stand in his way.
Couple that with the fact that AP has made the Pro Bowl every year that he's been the league and has 64 TDs in that span.
Who wouldn't want to build a franchise around this man?
Is having Tom Brady here really a surprise at all?
The former sixth-round pick of the Pats has thrown for over 37,000 yards and 279 touchdowns in his lengthy career with New England.
He has also won three Super Bowl titles and has helped make the Patriots a playoff contender nearly every season he's been with the team.
There might not be a better example of a true "franchise player" in the NFL today than Brady.
Peyton Manning's younger brother hasn't been quite as successful as the Colts' star, but he has been good enough to lead his Giants to as many Super Bowl victories as his older brother.
Eli Manning has had some ups and downs during his career, but when he is on the field, there is little doubt that he is the best player that his team is putting out there.
He has already thrown for 169 touchdowns in his Giants' career, and at just 30 years old, he will likely have many more before he is done.
It's not a stretch to say that no one plays cornerback like Darrelle Revis in today's NFL.
Revis is so good that he can shut down an entire half of the field on defense when he is in the game.
Offenses have to plan around him, and he surely gives many offensive coordinators headaches during games.
Revis is the Jets' franchise player because he is the quarterback of their defense.
Drew Brees is Drew Brees, and the Saints are the Saints.
On a serious note, Brees has been the commander of this team for years now.
He has already won "Who Dat" nation a Super Bowl and is having another solid season this year.
There isn't anything else that needs to be said about this one.
"Run DMC" has finally emerged as one of the premier backs in the league.
With the Raiders still struggling at the QB position, McFadden is the key to his team's success going forward.
If he can stay healthy, the former Arkansas Razorback has a chance to do some great things with this franchise in the future.
Doesn't it seem like Big Ben has been around for a long time?
Well, this is his eighth season with the Steelers and he has already lead them to two Super Bowl victories during that time.
He's extremely mobile for his season, and has all the intangibles that you would want in a franchise QB.
He might have a funny name, but his game is very serious.
No one will ever know this answer, but if it happened, it's likely that San Diego wouldn't have taken Philip Rivers in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
Rivers has been exceptional for the Chargers, starting every game since 2006, and throwing for over 21,000 yards during that span.
Even though he has struggled so far in 2011, Rivers will be San Diego's franchise player until they decide to part ways with him.
Patrick Willis one of the most feared defensive players in the NFL.
He is also considered to be one of the most talented linebackers to ever play for the 49ers organization.
The former Ole Miss star has made the Pro Bowl every year that he's been in the league, and is getting better with time.
Without Willis, the San Francisco defense would be nothing.
It's hard to tell who the Seahawks' franchise player is at this point.
The closest person that I could come up with is rookie wideout Doug Baldwin.
After all, Bradford was one of the best prospects available, considering the fact that he did win the Heisman in his time at the University of Oklahoma.
After winning the NFL Offensive ROY award in 2010, Bradford has taken a step back in 2011.
Even though he only thrown three touchdowns so far this season, there is no one else the Rams would rather build their team around than the former Sooner at this point.
Bucs starting QB Josh Freeman is a lot like Rams' quarterback Sam Bradford right now.
Both were highly touted QBs taken in the last two years of the draft, both had solid seasons and both have seem to regressed this season.
However, when you look at both of them, you see the strong arm, accuracy and leadership that makes each signal-caller their respective team's franchise quarterback.
Freeman has all the tools to lead this Bucs team to greatness in the future.
Chris Johnson has already rushed for over 2,000 yards in a season, and is one of the most explosive backs in the league.
Unfortunately, CJ2K has only been a shadow of his former self in 2011, as he has just rushed for 302 yards in seven games while averaging 2.8 yards per carry.
I look for him to turn it around and to continue to be the face of this Titans franchise in 2011 and beyond.
This was another tough decision, mainly because I wasn't for sure with the Redskins either.
Players that I have considered for this spot include linebacker Brian Orakpo and veteran wideout Santana Moss.