You're going nowhere in this league without a quarterback.
Not just some straw man who can toss a ball around and manage the game, but ... The Guy.
For teams without one, finding a franchise passer is up there with sourcing the Ark of the Covenant. The search can take decades and cost plenty of jobs in the process.
Ten weeks into the season, half the league is thinking playoffs, but teams without a viable signal-caller are starting to think about tomorrow.
Here's our take on who's going after a new quarterback in 2014.
Jacksonville is the lead horse to finish with the league's ugliest record and top pick in the draft. This year's class of quarterback prospects is rich and deep, and the Jaguars have been eyeing passers since before the start of the season. Blaine Gabbert is cooked, and Chad Henne's fooling himself if he sees this fading campaign as an audition for future starts with the Jags. Say hello to a total reboot.
The Cardinals, under Bruce Arians, won't have top draft status, but nothing would surprise us here. Arizona could swing a trade for an experienced veteran or take a chance on a rookie. No way they go into battle with Carson Palmer under center in 2014.
I would have notched Cleveland at the top of this list in September, but Brian Hoyer shifts the narrative a tad. We still expect the Browns to package picks in order to move up and get their quarterback of the future.
We're not listening to a word of praise heaped on Christian Ponder by the Vikings. Minnesota did all it could to end that experiment this season, and we wouldn't be surprised to see the entire Cassel-Freeman-Ponder three-headed beast swept out of town in the offseason.
Jake Locker has shown promise, but his durability is a hazard. Unless the Titans plan to carry what they deem as two starters, it's time to think about a new plan at the position. Terrelle Pryor has made the Raiders interesting, but the recent knee injury has taken away his ground game and revealed him as a project passer. Oakland is a good bet to look elsewhere.
Up in the air
Nick Foles has earned a long look as the potential answer at quarterback, but we expect Chip Kelly to bring in a rookie he can groom from scratch. Michael Vick is history, so a newbie could learn behind Foles and give Kelly that "competition" he adores at the position.
The burning question in Chicago is the future of Jay Cutler. He's played well under Marc Trestman, but so has Josh McCown. The Bears finally have an outstanding quarterback teacher, and we wouldn't be shocked to see Trestman move on from Cutler and stamp his tenure in the Windy City with a hand-picked talent from the college ranks. Mike Glennon has showed potential in Tampa, but assuming a new coaching staff takes over -- and with the Bucs looking at a top-shelf draft pick -- Glennon's job is far from secure.
Are the Rams really any worse with Kellen Clemens at the controls? While we're at it, remind us of that signature victory Sam Bradford spun this season, or last -- or the one before that. All indications have St. Louis sitting pretty with their overpaid starter, but coming off a major knee injury, Bradford's situation could change if the Rams fall in love with a young quarterback in the draft process.
The Texans would dominate this list if Case Keenum hadn't emerged as one of the league's most exciting young gunslingers over the past few weeks. As for Pittsburgh, we think the Steelers doth protest too much. They'll listen to offers, and if someone -- maybe Arians -- blows them away, anything can happen in the Steel City.