Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith have been tied together since the 2005 NFL Draft, when they both vied to be the No. 1 pick. When it comes to the ongoing situation with Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, Smith has his old rival’s back.
Rodgers didn’t have his best individual season in 2019, but he led the Packers to the NFC Championship. There was definitely some concern that he might be trending downward—concern that was quickly proven false when he exploded in 2020, after a year in Matt LaFleur‘s system. Even so, the fact that the Packers traded up in the first round to take quarterback Jordan Love was a major surprise.
Smith knows what that is like. The Kansas City Chiefs made a big move up to take Patrick Mahomes, who then supplanted him in year two. During an appearance on The Herd, the former No. 1 pick says that the fact that the Packers didn’t communicate their intentions with Rodgers was “inexcusable.”
“How they ever got to this point, I mean Aaron’s been there 16 years. What he’s given to that organization and been there. And for them, for what happened last year with the draft—and I haven’t talked to Aaron about this so I don’t want to put words in his mouth—but clearly you watch the interview, and clearly it’s about the people,” Smith said. “Aaron’s been there that long, and I don’t think it’s about the fact that they drafted Jordan Love in the first round. How do you have a guy like Aaron, and you don’t make sure beforehand, you aren’t going out of your way to make sure he knows he’s loved and that they want him there? ‘We may be taking a quarterback in the first round, we want to make sure you’re okay with it, this is maybe what we’re doing.’ How you haven’t treated him the right way leading up to that, and to my understanding, it was a bit of an unknown. A bit blindsided. He goes from potentially thinking you may be taking a receiver, you’re thinking you’re a move away from a Super Bowl, and then blindsided with a pick…”
The Packers treatment of Aaron Rodgers is "inexcusable," according to Alex Smith:
"I don't think it's the fact they drafted Jordan Love in the first round… You were on the doorstep of the Super Bowl and don't communicate that?" pic.twitter.com/9VrExd1GZO
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) May 26, 2021
“I don’t understand, as an organization, how you haven’t addressed that beforehand, when you make a move like that, and really make sure everything’s tightened up and everybody’s feeling good about that,” Smith continued. “It’s just not the way you run a business, it’s not the way you’re treating people. 16 years this guy’s been there, you’re on the doorstep of the Super Bowl, and you don’t go out of your way to communicate that and to show ‘Hey, you’re wanted’? You don’t make sure you’re on the same page and feeling good about that? It’s not just football, it’s any business or team.”
Colin Cowherd asked if Smith, who wasn’t nearly the figure with the Kansas City Chiefs that Aaron Rodgers is with the Packers, was told ahead of time that the franchise was going to take Patrick Mahomes. His answer: “absolutely.”
“That’s something that was talked about throughout the draft process, not just by Coach (Andy) Reid, everybody involved in the personnel department. And I’m talking multiple times. ‘Hey, this really might be something we’re doing. Are you okay with it? This is going to be the situation.’ There were no surprises. It was absolutely laid out for me, and I think that all helps, when that stuff’s communicated. It does make a difference how you treat people.”
Aaron Rodgers has made sure not to put the blame or the focus on Love, who he says he enjoys as a teammate. The way the Packers went about selecting Love, rather than bolstering the core of a Super Bowl contending roster, and without giving Rodgers any heads up, is definitely at the core of the ongoing situation.