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NFL teams possibly targeting QB successors in draft

This might have not been the most comfortable morning to wake up as a franchise quarterback drafted in the early 2000s.

The talk around the Annual League Meeting this week in Phoenix was centered on heir apparent discovery for some of the best passers of this generation.

Here's Chargers coach Anthony Lynn on Philip Rivers (36) and, in a way, backup quarterback Kellen Clemens (via ESPN):

"I think we do have to get a young quarterback on campus and start to develop someone, because we have two veteran quarterbacks and both of them are long in the tooth," Lynn said. "I think they have some good years left in them, don't get me wrong, but you have to start thinking about down the line, too.

"I would love for a young quarterback to get in here and learn from Philip. Philip is the ultimate pro in my opinion, so it would be a good situation for a young quarterback that doesn't have to come in and play right now, but can sit, watch and learn."

Here's Giants co-owners Steve Tisch and John Mara on Eli Manning (via SNY):

"No, you can't beat age. I think it's certainly at the back of everybody's mind -- including Eli's," Tisch said. "There's no urgency. There's no panic. But I think if you're a responsible owner, responsible GM, you've got to start thinking about it."

And Mara: "Because you never know what's going to happen. We've been very lucky. He's played how many games in a row? I think we have some insurance with Geno Smith being here, but I think you always have to look at the draft."

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo added that "the possibility of the Giants taking a QB high next month" is "stronger than many believe."

Here's Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on Ben Roethlisberger (via ESPN):

"We've been in that mentality. Our experience in this business and the realities of this business put us in that mindset. (General manager) Kevin (Colbert) and I have spent special attention to that position over the last several years, if nothing else from a dry-run perspective, to gain the knowledge and the information necessary to make good decisions when we come to that fork in the road. Who's to say that we aren't there right now?"

This comes on the heels of a scouting combine where the Cardinals talked at length about Carson Palmer's heir, which makes more sense given the fact that Palmer was contemplating retirement this offseason. And then there are the Saints, who have been exploring some creative options behind Drew Brees, including former Brownsfirst-round pick Johnny Manziel.

While this all makes sense, it does foreshadow an eerie time when the likes of Brees, Manning, Roethlisberger, Palmer and Rivers all leave the NFL around the same time. Drafting quarterbacks is good practice anyway, just as the Giants took a flier on Ryan Nassib a few years back and the Steelers picked up Landry Jones. But it seems only the New England Patriots are prepared for a significant catastrophe assuming they do not trade Jimmy Garoppolo.

And yet, they are the ones talking about their aging starter playing seven more years.

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