There are two types of teams in the NFL. Those with franchise quarterbacks, and those looking for franchise quarterbacks.
Since franchise quarterbacks rarely are available via free agency, the only place to find one is to draft him and hope he becomes one. That mindset has resulted in a whopping 13 teams — nearly half the league — starting quarterbacks with one or two years of NFL experience this season.
The decision of the Cardinals to go with rookie Ryan Lindley and the 49ers to sit Alex Smith for Colin Kaepernick expands by two a list that previously included Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, Jags quarterback Blaine Gabbert (who was placed on injured reserve Wednesday), Titans quarterback Jake Locker, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
As more and more teams embrace the concept of adjusting offensive philosophies to suit the skills of quarterbacks who thrived at the college level, look for more teams to embrace young quarterbacks as they search for the rarest and most important commodity in football — the franchise quarterback.