The Kansas City Chiefs paid a steep price to acquire Alex Smith this offseason, but according to offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, Kansas City got a steal. Pederson considers the quarterback the best in the NFL.
"Ultimately, every team has to have a quarterback," Pederson told The Kansas City Star. "I think we have the best in the league."
That's high praise considering some of the star quarterbacks in the NFL. Smith finished seventh in Total QBR, ESPN's quarterback rating system, last season (70.1). Peyton Manning (84.1) finished first, followed by Tom Brady (77.1), Colin Kaepernick (76.8), who replaced Smith in San Francisco, Matt Ryan (74.5), Aaron Rodgers (72.5) and Robert Griffin III (71.4).
"There are a lot of great ones, but over time, Alex has proven he can get it done," Pederson told the newspaper. "He's a sharp guy, he brings a wealth of knowledge, he's experienced, he's a proven winner the last couple of years, and he needs a team to embrace him."
The Chiefs traded a second-round pick in April's draft and a conditional selection in next year's draft that could be high as a second-rounder to the San Francisco 49ers to get Smith to be their starting quarterback.
Smith had become the hottest trade commodity in the league after flourishing two years ago, when he led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game. The former No. 1 overall pick started nine games last season but was sidelined by a head injury midway through the year.
That opened the door for Kaepernick, who sprinted right through it. Kaepernick played so well that 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh made him the starter the rest of the season, forcing Smith to watch from the sidelin as the team played in the Super Bowl.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.