Za’Darius Smith seems to be pleased with the Minnesota Vikings’ decision to trade him to the Cleveland Browns. Two teams other than the Browns pursued a Za’Darius Smith trade, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, but the pass rusher thought it would be appealing to play alongside Myles Garrett in Cleveland.
Smith and Garrett are two of only five NFL players who have recorded at least 10 sacks in three of the last four seasons. Only four teams had fewer sacks than the Browns last season.
Cleveland combed pass-rush market, including free agency. Found Z Smith strong fit
Smith had two other suitors but found chance to play opposite Myles Garrett appealing. https://t.co/BiaYOauhEd
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 13, 2023
Garrett has been among the league’s most fearsome pass rushers over the last half-decade. The Browns’ star recorded 16 sacks last season for the second straight year. Garrett has 64.5 sacks and four Pro Bowl appearances over the last five seasons.
The Browns will be Smith’s third team in as many years. After totaling 26 sacks for the Green Bay Packers in 2019 and 2020, Smith only played one game in 2021. The Vikings signed Smith to a three-year, $42 million contract in 2022 free agency.
Earlier this offseason, Smith suggested in a tweet that his days with the Vikings were done. Minnesota didn’t plan to release him, according to ESPN, and instead worked on a trade. Minnesota finally pulled the trigger on the deal with the Browns. Marcus Davenport signed with the Vikings in free agency and will effectively replace Smith on Minnesota’s defense.
Smith was limited to 1.5 sacks in the second half of last season. He battled a knee injury down the stretch of his only year in Minnesota.
The Browns are looking to bounce back from a 7-10 record.
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