Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett will have a new running partner in that of three-time Pro Bowler Za’Darius Smith.
According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, Smith has been dealt from the Minnesota Vikings to Cleveland. As part of the deal, the veteran pass rusher reworked his contract in order to hit free agency following the 2023 season.
Smith, 30, has long been on the trade block after requesting his release from the Vikings earlier this offseason. He spent only one year in Minnesota, recording 24 quarterback hits and 10 sacks en route to earning a third career trip to the Pro Bowl.
Given Smith’s previous request and Minnesota’s cost-cutting ways, the Vikings received pennies on the dollar for such a highly productive player. Here’s how it breaks down:
Browns get: Za’Darius Smith, 6th and 7th round picks in 2025
Vikings get: 5th-round pick in 2024, 5th-round pick in 2025
A fourth-round selection of the Baltimore Ravens back in 2015, Smith has morphed into one of the most consistent pass rushers in the game. The expectation is that he’ll join Garrett to form an elite duo in Cleveland. Fellow former Pro Bowler Jadeveon Clowney never really worked out in that role for the Browns.
Last season saw Garrett and Smith combine for 50 QB hits and 26 sacks. They should be able to help offset the presence of franchise quarterbacks Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens) and Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals) in the AFC North.
For Cleveland, this move comes after it also added former Vikings defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson during NFL free agency. A rebuilt defensive line under new coordinator Jim Schwartz should work wonders in Cleveland next season.