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Packers Rumors: Za'Darius Smith 'Believed to Be Unhappy' with Contract Conversion

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 24, 2021

AP Photo/Mike Roemer

Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith is reportedly the latest player to grow frustrated with the franchise ahead of the 2021 NFL season.

Mike Florio of the Pro Football Talk reported Saturday that Smith is "believed to be unhappy" the team exercised the automatic conversion option in his four-year, $66 million contract, which gives him an untenable $28.1 million cap hit for 2022 that could lead to his release or a trade after the season unless he agrees to an extension.

Smith was initially unaware of the conversion option's implications and was additionally irked the front office didn't pay the $14.8 million guaranteed portion of his 2021 earnings when they exercised the contract clause in March, per Florio.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection caused a stir on social media Friday when he put out a request for a real estate agent:

Za'Darius Smith @zadariussmith

I need a realtor in GreenBay ASAPโ€ผ๏ธ

He later clarified the comment, saying it was related to the bullish market conditions:

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Za'Darius Smith @zadariussmith

Are you guys crazy๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ the Market is up! Iโ€™m just trying to find a new house

Smith joins quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams facing questions about their future in Green Bay as training camp gets underway.

In April, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Rodgers had "told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team." There's been no substantial movement toward a trade reported, and the reigning NFL MVP has remained coy about his future in recent months.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Friday that Adams and the Packers have broken off talks about a long-term contract extension and are currently in a "bad place."

Rodgers and Adams posted matching pictures of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on their Instagram Stories early Saturday in what many read as a reference to the documentary telling the story of the duo's final year together with the Chicago Bulls, The Last Dance:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Both Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams shared the same image to their IG story ๐Ÿ‘€ <a href="https://twitter.com/brgridiron?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@brgridiron</a> <a href="https://t.co/y7NvymhsA7">pic.twitter.com/y7NvymhsA7</a>

Now with Smith's apparent unhappiness, the Packers, who were Super Bowl contenders on paper before the drama erupted, are facing extreme uncertainty heading into the campaign.

The 28-year-old linebacker recorded 52 total tackles, 12.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two passes defended across 16 games for the Packers in 2020. His 26 sacks over the past two seasons are tied for the third-highest total in the NFL.

Green Bay kicks off the preseason Aug. 14 against the Houston Texans and opens the regular season with a visit to the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 12. What the team's roster will look like for that marquee NFC showdown remains a mystery.

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