Love the Alex Smith divide on talk radio. Find it a reflection of media insanity when they treat Smith like a scrub and think the Chiefs ought to replace him. If someone shits on Smith, notice they are guys who didn't play football and are creatures of the media. Notice the defenders of Smith - ex-QBs, executives, etc. So here's how I think about it:
I'm a GM/Coach in the NFL. I need a QB of the QBs out there. Take age out of the equation, so that you're not saying, I'd take Andrew Luck over Brady RIGHT NOW. F-that. You're taking Brady. Just to try and make the situation comparable. Factor in talent, situation, etc.
Tier 1: All Timers
Brady's been better, but that's probably because of his situation and Belichick, right? Either way, these guys are 1-2.
Tier 2: The Franchise
3. Drew Brees
4. Big Ben
5. Russell Wilson
6. Andrew Luck
7. Derek Carr
8. Philip Rivers
9. Cam Newton
These are the guys nobody entertains getting rid of. You count QB as one of your strengths as a team. I could debate the order, but I gotta give props to the guys who won Super Bowls. Of these guys, I think Brees has been the most consistently spectacular and the engineer of explosive offenses (again, age not a factor). Big Ben and Wilson occasionally look great, but also look incredibly spotty at time. This is commonly noted on Big Ben, but for some reason Wilson gets a pass. He has a number of very subpar post-season performances.
Luck is still more talent than result. Maybe it's the team...maybe it's injury...maybe...maybe...maybe. Carr earned his spot this year. Rivers probably deserves to be higher, but lately, they just haven't been very good. One could make a very good argument for Rivers #5, just from a pure QB standpoint. He never gets hurt. He's competitive, tough, but coming in last place in the division for several years straight severely hurts the argument for him.
Cam, in my estimation, has had one great year, but shows some signs of being Cutler-ish.
Tier 3: A Franchise QB, But...
10. Tony Romo - Almost belonged in the prior category, but he got benched this year. Romo is at the top of this group because he has the ability to win games by himself.
11. Matt Ryan - One could make a good argument for Ryan to be put into the franchise category, except for the fact that there are questions about his post season ability and he's always been surrounded by incredible talent. I'll say this - when the Niners were in the NFC championship game against Ryan a couple years ago, I feared him. That said, we won.
12. Alex Smith - So I have him here, higher than most. He's a unique and under-appreciated player because he does this thing where he doesn't seem to win games...but guess what? He also does this thing where he doesn't ever lose games either. It's quite remarkable. In the last six years, He's lead his team to winning records and the post-season, or a hair away from it. I think he's more consistent than all the players below him and he stands toe-to-toe in the ring with top QBs. He's beaten Brees, Rodgers, Rivers (mult times), Carr (mult times), Brady, and Wilson in big in-season or playoff games. He's played near equal to Luck and Big Ben in two big playoff games. There are too many instances for it to be a mistake.
13. Eli Manning - he has the two Super Bowls, but neither time could it be said QB was the strength of those teams. Very up and down and a strange career. I'd take Smith over him, but could see a lot of people disagreeing.
14. Matt Stafford - lots of talent, not much in the way of results. Played with one of the most talented receivers of all time. Don't know if he's ever been in the playoffs. Something isn't clicking with him.
15. Joe Flacco - had that one stretch where he won the SB and looked incredible. The rest of the time, not so much.
16. Dak Prescott - almost in the below category, but performed a bit too well and earned his way out of it. People LOVED Dak. So that said, didn't he do this year what Alex Smith has done for the last 6 years? Played well enough to get his team into the playoffs, but came up a little short. And when's the last time Smith had the best offensive line in football. Answer: 2011-2012 when he took the team to the NFC championship game and then got bench for Kap. So if Dak repeats this year for six years, will talk radio be pooping all over him?
Tier 3.5: A Franchise QB, We Think... (But It's Too Early to Tell)
17. Kirk Cousins - top of this category for now. He's got good numbers this season and I believe gone to the playoffs. But I think the jury is still out. Seen guys do well for this length of time (Kaepernick, RG3) and it go nowhere.
18. Jameis Winston - he's looked good at times. Guess what? In his second year, Alex Smith looked good, too. I think they went 7-9 or 9-7 and then Norv Turner ditched the Niners to go coach the Chargers and Alex went into the stink-hole until Harbaugh arrived. I want to see more.
19. Marcus Mariota - ditto. I like his game.20. Carson Wentz - people say he has the "it" factor. I see a guy who went 4-9 down the stretch with a really good defense.
21. Tyrod Taylor - I haven't seen enough, but from what I read, he makes the cut for now.
Tier 4: A Starter
22. Jay Cutler - Another unique guy, who has the talent to be in tier 2 or 3, but who clearly brings down the people around him. We have a big enough sample size now to confidently say, he's not a franchise QB you would take. But to be fair, he's worthy of a starting position.
23. Andy Daulton - maybe you could with a SB with an excellent team around him.
24. Ryan Tannehill - a bigger maybe you could with a SB with an excellent team around him.
Tier 4.5: A Starter, But...
25. Carson Palmer - has looked great at times, but big time injury and consistency problems. The guys in Tier 3 and Tier 4 don't really get benched and I feel like Palmer gets benched.
26. Sam Bradford - Brings you zero stability, but some upside.
Tier 5: Shopping For A Better Option
27. Blake Bortles
28. Ryan Fitzpatrick
29. Trevor Simeon
30. Brock Osweiller
31. Cleveland Browns QB
32. Rams QB
33. 49ers QB