Since the offseason is finally upon us, I believe I'll take it upon myself to describe how a flailing franchise can rebuild their product into a competitor year in and year out. The obvious hurdle with such a set of articles is that my prescriptions will come off as step-by-step procedures that will produce on-field winners. It's not as easy as I'm about to make it sound, but it's a process that needs to be followed.
The first step in rebuilding a team in today's NFL is to find a quarterback. There's a reason that a great quarterback is called "the man." He's irreplaceable, and it's exceedingly difficult to succeed in today's NFL without a solid passer under center. Just take a look at all of the teams in the playoffs this past season. They all have one factor in common. They have a quarterback that's above average at the very least.
There's a huge debate amongst NFL commentators as to the proper process by which a team should find a quarterback. In reality, there's no correct answer. Teams can find a guy in free agency depending on who's available in any given year (see Denver picking up Peyton Manning). A team can take a guy at the top of the draft (think Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III), or a team can draft a guy down the draft order and develop him. Tom Brady (2000: Round 6, Pick 199 overall) is an extreme example of such a strategy, but the point is if it works, it's good enough.
Considering this year's draft class, teams may look to alternative methods of finding starting quarterbacks. Matt Flynn and Alex Smith are two options that will be available through either a trade or via free agency this offseason. The other probably option is drafting a quarterback in the second round or deeper and developing him over the course of a few years.
The overall quarterback crop this offseason isn't perceived to be a loaded group, but there's value out there. It's a matter of finding the right player for the right price. Regardless of the circumstances, it's the most important position in football, and quarterbacks will always demand top dollar and attention from their perspective employers.