When I saw the first mock drafts already starting to come out, I couldn't help but think about this situation that we somehow find ourselves in.
So the Arizona Cardinals are 3-6. They have three quarterbacks -- none of which would start on any other team in this league (except maybe the heartbreakingly bad Carolina Panthers). And they just got smashed at home against a Seahawks team that, regardless of what their record says, sucks.
With Sunday's disappointment in the books, the realization is becoming clear that the towel may have already been thrown in for the year.
The question must be asked, how exactly do the Cardinals brass plan to dig themselves out of this situation? The classic fall-back plan that's been discussed throughout the past few months has been Donovan McNabb, and now that's gone. Who else is out there?
We all know Whisenhunt would never go for Vick, but the rest of 2011 free agent class is filled with Derek Anderson-esque names. Trent Edwards, Shaun Hill, Brodie Croyle -- none of these guys could be viable signal-callers for a playoff contender.
In reality, barring some sort of miraculous offseason trade, this situation really only has one feasible outcome if the Cardinals are planning to return to relevance within the next couple years. As painful as it would be to watch, and as much as I selfishly don't want to see it happen, they need to bottom out -- and they need to bottom out hard.
The Cardinals have seven games left. Let's say they lose to the Chiefs, the Rams, the 49ers (at least once), the Cowboys, and the Broncos -- all of which could feasibly happen at this point -- the Cardinals would end up either 4-12 or 5-11. With the insane parity going around the NFL this year, either of those records probably ends up ranking towards the absolute bottom of the league.
What does that bring besides frustration and resentment? A top-five pick and a potential franchise quarterback.
Not to long ago, that wasn't a guaranteed safe bet. You hear it all the time: for all the Peyton Mannings of the world, there are just as many Ryan Leafs.
But in recent history, with the influx of pro-style offenses flourishing in college football, this new generation of quarterbacks has been more reliable than any before them.
These teams are all set for years to come at the most important position in football. In retrospect, do you think the fan-bases would like to trade in their franchise quarterback to make that one 4-12 season an 8-8 one? Absolutely not. As a sports fan, existing as the team that always floats in mediocrity is the worst possible fate of all.
With so many viable options coming out of the 2011 draft class -- Luck, Locker, Ponder, Stanzi, Mallett (possibly) -- it only makes sense for the Cardinals to jump into the new era. Would you rather watch two years of Kellen Clemens or a possible decade with an exciting, young talent?
As much as I hate seeing these outrageous losses week in and week out, if it means 10 years of relevance -- and the first legitimate long-term quarterback in team history -- then sign me up.