One of the hottest topics in the NFL today is the quarterback position. Who is playing it for each team and how well are they performing are major questions that help to signal success or failure for each team.
If the quarterback position truly is the most important on the field, then how does each team stack up in terms of their QB pointing to future success in the NFL.
This is always one of the most tricky analytical topics in the NFL, but for the purposes of this analysis assume that the window is the next 10 years.
For instance, last week the Denver Broncos and their fans were sure that Tim Tebow had Super Bowl aspirations in the next 10 years. After the unmitigated disaster against the Lions this week, that prediction needs some serious adjusting.
Here is every NFL team in order of how their next 10 years will look based on their current quarterback situation.
It is hard to believe that either Tarvaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst are going to be under center in Seattle for very long.
Still, looking at the situations as it is today, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks have the worst quarterbacking situation in the NFL, and their fans have no reason to hope that either of these players is going to get any better.
Chad Henne or Matt Moore? It doesn't matter which QB used for this exercise because neither one has a bright future in South Beach.
Henne has been an underachiever, and sadly a promising season was cut short by injury, but the handwriting had been on the wall since preseason when the Dolphins were trying to acquire Kyle Orton.
If things don't change in Miami, it's going to be a long 10 years.
The Redskins are trying to win with a player that the No. 31 team decided to part ways with. Add to the mix their backup being Rex Grossman, and there are no answers for the Washington Redskins in the QB department.
The only saving grace is that Mike Shanahan might have one more good quarterback prospect in his future before he retires for good. That might be the one good thing that he leaves behind for Washington in the years to come.
The Tebow has been officially "unleashed" in Denver to mixed reviews. Some are convinced that he is the second coming, while others are fairly certain that he will be gone as soon as next season.
Either way he offers one of the most unique situations in the league, as he presents the perfect mix of unpredictability and intangibles that make him exciting but far from a sure bet to succeed in Denver in the long term.
Matt Hasselbeck is a solid NFL quarterback and has been steady for the Titans, but if we are thinking 10 years out this is a player that some were not sure would be in the league still.
Jake Locker could be a great quarterback in the waiting, but until fans see the proof they have to evaluate with the player on the field right now. That player will not be around to help the franchise in 10 years.
Could Colt McCoy be the quarterback of the Browns for the next 10 years? Absolutely.
The question is will he ever break through and become more than just an adequate player, and instead become a great player able to make an impact in Cleveland.
The moments of glory have been fleeting at best so far for McCoy and the Browns, but there is still a lot of upside in Cleveland.
The Indianapolis Colts could be anywhere on this list realistically.
The potential severity of Peyton Manning's injury could mean that he has already played his last game in the NFL, in which case they should be dead last.
Or, Manning could come back rejuvenated and play another six years and score a second Super Bowl for the Colts.
There are so many unknowns but the likely scenario is that Peyton comes back and has a year or two left before a final blow forces him to retire. The Colts, as evidenced by their play right now, are in serious trouble without help.
Did Carson Palmer's thrilling debut in a Raiders uniform do much to instill hope in Raider Nation for prolonged success?
One game does not a career make, but the truth is that Palmer is on the downside of a long career and his ability was already showing sign of slipping in Cincinnati.
Even if he and Hue Jackson make magic in Oakland, it will be fleeting and Terrelle Pryor does not make their 10-year projection any better at the moment.
The Arizona Cardinals mortgaged their entire future on Kevin Kolb, and to date it has not gone well.
This is not all Kolb's fault and the good news is that he and Larry Fitzgerald will be around for a while to try and get their house in order.
For now, Kolb is another of the many QBs in the NFL who certainly have skill and now must prove that they have staying power for the next 10 years.
Cowboys fans are not even sure if Tony Romo can be the leader of this team for the next game, let alone the next 10 years.
Romo has shown signs of being one of the game's most brilliant passers. If he can get over the big-game and late-game jitters, then the Cowboys will have a good one for a good amount of time.
However, Jerry Jones won't wait long to move on if he feels like Romo is not protecting his billion dollar palace in Arlington.
Three weeks ago, Matt Cassel and the Chiefs might be a lot lower on this list than they already are. However, a mini resurgence has the spirits up in KC and fans are hopeful again that Matt Cassel can be their guy for years to come.
Cassel has been to the playoffs and also thrived in a very complex offensive system while in New England. The tools are there, but the inconsistency should be scary for fans of the Chiefs.
A one-time hopeful to be the first overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft has fans getting a little more hopeful in Jacksonville.
Gabbert still has a lot to learn and will likely find himself with a new coach next season, but maybe that is a good thing for the young QB.
The Jaguars could certainly have the man they want for at least the next 10 years with Gabbert.
Christian Ponder has generated a nice buzz in Minnesota and has a lot of fans wondering why he hasn't been starting from game one.
His mix of athleticism and strong arm are becoming more and more the norm in the NFL, and it points to future success for the rookie.
Throw in the fact that he stood in with the Packers and tried to deliver a comeback and fell admirably short, and the Vikings could have the answer they have been looking for under center.
The early success of Andy Dalton was the main reason that the Bengals were so happy to let go of former franchise quarterback Carson Palmer.
Dalton has been as advertised coming out of TCU, leading the Bengals to a surprising start and racking up some very nice passing statistics along the way.
Cincinnati has reason to be hopeful with the union of Dalton and Green lighting up the air in Cincy.
The Buffalo Bills have seen all that they need to see considering that they offered Fitzpatrick a six-year contract extension to stay with the Bills.
Fans of the NFL might be a little more skeptical since Fitzpatrick's hot start has cooled considerably this season.
Still, the Bills are in the playoff hunt early and the management seems to think that No. 14 will keep them there for years to come.
Jim Harbaugh might have saved Alex Smith's career and also kept him from the dubious label of "No. 1 Pick Bust."
Smith has been a constant disappointment for the Niners until now, and it remains to be seen whether or not he will put a whole season together and possibly a playoff run.
He has the time left to be the answer at QB for San Francisco for many years, but can he keep it together long enough to do that?
At times in his career the "San-chize" has seemed anything but that for the Jets.
Despite an impressive win-loss record to start his career, Sanchez has yet to prove that he is the reason for most of the Jets' success.
Rex Ryan is loyal and will certainly stick with Sanchez for as long as he can, but fans are wondering how long until that starts to hurt the team.
The move to acquire Jay Cutler was supposed to be the missing link for the Bears' Super Bowl aspirations.
So far Cutler has been adequate, but sometimes self destructive in terms of his play with the Bears.
It is no secret that the physical tools are all there but it always seems like Cutler is in disaster mode, trying to rehab his image and decision making. That makes it hard to see a bright future for many years to come.
Joe Flacco was one of the great draft surprises coming out of Delaware and had a great rookie campaign.
Sadly for the Ravens, Flacco seems to be regressing and his play of late has not shown the kind of sturdiness and flair that are required to win a Super Bowl.
Although, flashy offense and great QB play is not the hallmark of Ravens football. Therefore they might not be too worried about Flacco's troubles in terms of their future success.
Even though it seems unlikely that Matt Schaub is going to be the quarterback for the Texans 10 years from now, it is also not impossible.
In all the years of disappointment in Houston, it is rarely the fault of Schaub and the offense, and that should be heartening for fans of the Texans.
A deep playoff run for the Texans might help to cement Schaub's position as their immovable object under center.
Eli has survived this long in New York despite the constant scrutiny and finger-pointing, and there isn't much reason to believe that won't continue for many years to come.
Manning is the lowest of the current Super Bowl winning QBs on the list, but that is because his greatness is always bordered by flat-out bad play sometimes.
Those who watched the Super Bowl run, though, all know that inside No. 10's jersey beats the heart of a competitor.
Until recently nobody could ever look at the Chargers and blame quarterback play for their inability to win the big game.
Philip Rivers has always been the centerpiece of these perennial playoff contenders and likely will continue to be, as he is as much the face of his franchise as any player.
His troubles this season are likely temporary and there will be a change at head coach in San Diego long before there is a change at QB.
Josh Freeman has been called the "best quarterback you've never heard of" for a while now.
That name is both flattering and demeaning at the same time as it calls to attention both the lack of respect for his accomplishments, but also the fact that he and the Bucs have not done anything to force the nation to look.
He is an exciting player and certainly a huge part of Tampa's plans for the future.
The decision to hand the reins over to Michael Vick made total sense at the conclusion of last season, but to date it has been under a lot of scrutiny.
Time will have to tell, but as electrifying as Vick can be, it is hard to think that the Eagles will not always be competitive for the duration of Vick's tenure there.
That makes the window of opportunity six years in Philly, which is a lot better than most NFL teams can say.
As long as the New Orleans Saints can protect Drew Brees, they will be a threat to win every game they play.
Brees means everything to this franchise and can certainly have at least six more productive years, if not more depending on health.
Even when Brees moves on, if Sean Payton remains the head coach, they will have another QB ready to take over and excel.
As much as it pains Pats fans to hear it, Brady will not be quarterbacking this team for the next 10 years.
At some point Brady is going to ride comfortably into the Hall of Fame after his career ends, but it doesn't seem to be as imminent as Peyton Manning.
The Patriots are always a team with a plan and it likely is not Brian Hoyer to take over some day, but until they actually see No. 12 walk off the field for good, their prospects are as bright as any team.
Despite having a disappointing beginning to his sophomore campaign, Sam Bradford is still a legitimate budding star in the NFL.
He has had NFL potential since his freshman year at Oklahoma and it was evident last season in a near playoff miss for the Rams.
The trade for Brandon Lloyd signals that the Rams understand that they have a franchise quarterback on their roster and they want to do things to help him be successful in the future.
After all of the speculation and evaluation about the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers have slept soundly knowing that they got their man in Cam Newton.
He has been as electrifying a rookie quarterback as the league has seen in recent memory and his skills seem to be growing by the week.
The Panthers have a very solid base now from which to grow from, and considering where they were before Newton, their prospects have got to be as bright as any in the league.
The Detroit Lions are proving what people thought since Matt Stafford was drafted, which is that they are a great team with him on the field.
Under Stafford, the Lions have gone from the quintessential NFL doormat to one of the most feared teams in the league right now.
His connection with Calvin Johnson is deadly and there is no denying that the Lions are a different team with Stafford calling the signals. They have a very bright NFL future with No. 9.
"Matty Ice" has already been on the doorstep on the Super Bowl and there is no reason to believe that he won't find himself there again multiple times and maybe even break through that door.
He has turned Roddy White into a premier NFL wide receiver and breathed new life into Tony Gonzalez's Hall of Fame-to-be career.
Ryan has been leader since his first day on the Falcons' practice field, and he will continue to be for many, many years.
Follow the hardware and you will find "Big Ben" and the Pittsburgh Steelers as a team that will not be looking for another quarterback for a long time.
Roethlisberger already has multiple Super Bowl wins and gives his team an identity as a never-say-die team that cannot be counted out of any game.
Despite the trials and tribulations he has faced, he is a beloved figure in Pittsburgh and will always be.
The Green Bay Packers have the gold standard for quarterbacks right now and the basis for which all other teams were compared for this assignment.
It is absolutely insane to think that anyone but Rodgers will be quarterbacking the Packers for at least the next 10 years (if not more). With the kind of chemistry and production that Rodgers has with his offense and coaching staff, they have the brightest future of any team in the league.
And to think, this guy was just sitting on their bench for a few years!