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#pounditSaturday, September 23, 2023

Browns acquire three-time Pro Bowl defender in trade with NFC team

Za'Darius Smith wearing headphones

Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) warms up before the game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns have linked up with a NFC team on a big trade.

Tom Peliserro of NFL Network reported on Friday that the Browns have acquired veteran pass rusher Za’Darius Smith in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings. The 30-year-old Smith is getting a reworked contract in which he will make $11.75 million guaranteed in 2023. Smith will then be able to become a free agent next March.

The full trade is Smith plus 2025 sixth- and seventh-round picks going to Cleveland while the Vikings get fifth-round picks in both 2024 and 2025.

A former fourth-round pick himself, Smith has been selected to three career Pro Bowls and also earned an All-Pro nod back in 2020 with the Green Bay Packers. In 2022, his lone season on the Vikings, Smith recorded 44 combined tackles and 10.0 sacks (second on the team).

Outside of star defender Myles Garrett, who was second in the NFL last season with 16.0 sacks, no other Browns player even hit the four-sack mark in 2022. Smith, who had clearly grown unhappy in Minnesota, will be able to add more dynamism to Cleveland’s pass rush, perhaps preventing Garrett from seeing as many double-teams.


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