The Cleveland Browns bolstered their pass-rush unit on Friday by acquiring veteran outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Browns sent fifth-round picks in (2024 and 2025) to Minnesota for Smith. As part of the agreement, Cleveland will also receive sixth-rounder and seventh-rounder in 2025.
According to Rapoport, Smith also reworked his contract which will guarantee him $11.75 million for this season and make him a free agent in 2024.
The Vikings signed Smith to a three-year, $42 million contract last offseason despite him playing just one game with the Green Bay Packers in 2021. The Kentucky product responded with a Pro Bowl year in which he delivered 10.0 sacks in 16 games while adding 44 tackles and career-high five deflections.
Despite a successful campaign, the likelihood of Smith staying with the Vikings always seemed bleak. The franchise reportedly started shopping the 30-year-old player as soon as they signed free agent outside linebacker Marcus Davenport early in the offseason.
Za’Darius Smith has 54.5 sacks since starting his NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens in 2015. He is among only five players in the league to get double digits in sacks in three of the past four seasons. The list also includes his new teammate, Browns’ superstar defensive end Myles Garrett.