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Za’Darius Smith reportedly latest Green Bay Packers star ‘upset’ with franchise

Green Bay Packers training camp is closing in and one of the NFL’s most storied franchises is now dealing with alarming drama involving three of their best players.

It all started this offseason when a growing rift between Aaron Rodgers and the front office went public. The reigning NFL MVP called out the organization’s culture, a sentiment several teammates agreed with, and demanded a trade

If Rodgers turning down a contract extension and threatening retirement wasn’t enough before camp begins, recent NFL rumors hint things are even worse. After an offseason spent negotiating a long-term deal, Davante Adams broke off contract talks with the franchise and the two sides are reportedly in a bad place.

But Green Bay might have more than just two disgruntled stars on its hands. A day after Pro Bowl edge rusher Za’Darius Smith sent fans into a panic with an immediate request for a realtor. While he later squashed some of the fear, it seems there might be real issues behind the scenes.

Will Aaron Rodgers end his career in Green Bay?

According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, Smith is believed to be unhappy over his contract situation and he either wants the franchise to offer him long-term security or he wants out of Green Bay.

Smith signed a four-year, $66 million contract with the Packers at the start of NFL free agency in 2019. After two seasons of outstanding play, Green Bay automatically converted a portion of his deal to create cap room this season.

Are the Green Bay Packers headed for a rebuild?

The front office’s move could come at a significant cost for the Pro Bowl outside linebacker. A $14.76 million bonus due in March will now be spread out across the season. More concerning for Smith’s long-term future, his 2022 cap hit will be higher than $28 million and it puts him at risk of being cut next spring.

A second-team All-Pro selection in 2020, Smith is integral to Green Bay’s defense. While Preston Smith was a major disappointment this past year, Za’Darius was one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

  • Za’Darius Smith stats (2020): 51 total pressures, 23 quarterback hits, 12.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss

Smith wants to stay with the Packers, retaining his role as an impact player for one of the best defenses in the NFL. Unfortunately, the team might have no choice but to move on from him in 2022.

Green Bay is already projected to be $34 million over the 2022 NFL salary cap, a number that doesn’t include extensions for Adams, safety Adrian Amos or star cornerback Jaire Alexander. Amid uncertainty regarding Rodgers’ future, the All-Pro quarterback carries a $39.85 million cap charge next season.

Adams and Rodgers already seem prepared to leave this franchise due to contract issues and frustrations with the organization. If Smith follows them out the door, the Green Bay Packers are in for a rebuild and that will only make things more difficult for Jordan Love.