Alex Smith explains how Packers have failed Aaron Rodgers

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 08: Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs attempts a pass during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 8, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 08: Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs attempts a pass during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 8, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

This NFL offseason has been one to remember for a lot of teams, as major players have already found new homes and others have retired from the game. A new draft class is entering the league anchored by several new promising quarterbacks—including the biggest stars in college football in recent years—and the sport was able to retain its single biggest star, Tom Brady, for at least another season as he chases a repeat win in the Super Bowl next winter. However, there’s no single biggest piece of news in the NFL this offseason than the potential trade of superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

To date, nothing has happened officially. Rodgers is still, as of press time, gainfully employed by the Packers and it’s very possible that the offseason’s biggest news items will have been nothing more but swirling rumors. But Rodgers is disgruntled and has made his position known and stranger things have happened around the league before. Where Aaron Rodgers will play remains the most intriguing question as the offseason enters June.

If you’ve missed out on what exactly has happened, Rodgers has taken exception to the manner in which the team’s front office has handled itself and specifically its communication with the reigning league Most Valuable Player. Not only did the team draft a quarterback in the first round last season in Jordan Love but they’ve also failed to provide him with the weapons he obviously wants on offense—using last year’s second round pick on a running back when Aaron Jones was already in house and this year’s top pick was another first-round corner in Georgia’ Eric Stokes. Rodgers feels like he’s been slighted and has demanded out with his frustrations clearly direction at Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst.

Alex Smith breaks down the need for professional communication for the Packers with Aaron Rodgers.

Former K.C. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith knows a thing or two about Rodgers’ situation. While he was in San Francisco, the 49ers decided to invest in Colin Kaepernick even though he was the starting quarterback and, a few years later in Kansas City, the Chiefs did the same by drafting Patrick Mahomes in the first round despite Smith being an above-average starter.

In a recent podcast episode with ESPN reporter Adam Schefter, Smith explained his take on the Packers-Rodgers situation and pointed out that the team has failed to communicate in any meaningful way—at least that any of us can see from the outside. Then Schefter asked him whether or not the Chiefs communicated with him in a way that he says the Packers should have. Here was his answer:

"“Absolutely. That had been communicated the entire offseason leading up to that—the entire offseason—by multiple, multiple people—everybody in the personnel department, Coach Reid constantly, there were multiple phone calls about that happening. That happened when we drafted Kaep with Coach Harbaugh. I knew well in advance fo that what the team was thinking, the route they were gonna go. And I think that makes a difference. It does, honestly. In Aaron’s case, going out of your way to let him know how the team feels about him, how the organization feels about him, how important he is and that potentially they’re thinking this route and explaining their thinking. Clearly, from an outside looking in, that didn’t happen and didn’t take place.”"

In both cases, Smith was forced to move on eventually, but the Chiefs specifically did very well by Smith in trying to get him to a new place in which he would be given a starting opportunity and a lucrative new deal. Washington Football Team stepped up with a trade and contract offer that gave him both of those, and if not for a horrific leg injury, we’d probably still be referring to him as Washington’s starting quarterback.

How will this offseason’s biggest storyline play out?: It’s impossible to say, but the Packers have been firm in all public statements that they will not trade Rodgers. Will Rodgers play hardball? Will the Packers give in? Smith makes it clear that if the team were simply willing to apologize and communicate in a professional manner, perhaps the tension could be resolved.