The Kansas City Chiefs made their move this offseason, acquiring Alex Smith in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers. Time will tell on how that trade stacks up but NFL.com has released an early ranking of the 2013 NFL quarterbacks with Alex Smith landing firmly in the middle.
NFL.com has tiers in their rankings, with these three coming under the heading of "Critical seasons ahead".
17. Philip Rivers
18. Alex Smith
19. Ryan Tannehill
"Rivers is an aging but tough-as-nails quarterback," Marc Sessler of NFL.com writes. "Still, I'm not certain he's even on the Chargers in 2014 if he doesn't rebound from back-to-back down seasons. Smith's work in San Francisco was underrated. His handling of the situation was even more impressive. Tannehill, in his second season, will shoot up this list if he clicks with Miami's new toys."
I gotta say, that looks like a fair ranking to me. It also shows the value in not turning the ball over. Few people would argue that Rivers is a more gifted quarterback than Smith based on ability. Rivers' ceiling is higher. However ... Rivers has had a turnover problem in recent years. Smith is the opposite, among the league's elite in protecting the football. Sometimes all a quarterback has to do is not screw it up. Those types of situations usually arise when a team is stacked in the running game or has a solid defense, a team where the quarterback doesn't have to be the hero.
....a team like the Chiefs.