HomeSportsNFLMinnesota Vikings trade Za’Darius Smith to Cleveland Browns

Minnesota Vikings trade Za’Darius Smith to Cleveland Browns

by Nick Geddes
Za'Darius Smith
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns have acquired three-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Za’Darius Smith from the Minnesota Vikings, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Friday.

Smith, 30, agreed to a restructured deal, and is guaranteed $11.75 million in 2023. He will be a free agent next March.

Full details of the trade, via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network:

Browns get:

Za’Darius Smith
2025 6th-round pick
2025 7th-roundpick

Vikings get:

2024 5th-round pick
2025 5th-round pick

Selected in the fourth-round (122nd overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, Smith has spent eight seasons in the league, tallying 54.5 sacks, 136 quarterback hits, nine forced fumbles and 271 tackles (180 solo). He inked a three-year, $42 million deal with the Vikings last offseason, recording 10.0 sacks and 44 tackles (32 solo) in 2022. A trade had been looming, however, as Smith was set to count $15.49 million against Minnesota’s salary cap this season. 

Za’Darius Smith says goodbye to Skol Nation

Smith requested his release from the Vikings earlier this offseason, penning a farewell to Skol Nation on Twitter.

“I just want to say “Thank you!” to Skol Nation for an amazing season & experience!” Smith wrote. “Thank you to all of my Teammates, Coaches & the entire Minnesota Vikings Organization!”

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah addressed Smith’s situation during a press conference last month.

“We’re in ongoing communication with [Smith] and his representatives,” Adofo-Mensah said, via “[Monday] is voluntary, so those aren’t things that we’re necessarily concerned with. But we try and be solutions-oriented here… Sometimes those solutions come from different places or whatever but, you know, he [was] a great member of our team last year, and we’ll keep the communication ongoing.”

Smith will join forces with two-time All-Pro Myles Garrett in Cleveland, creating one of the league’s best pass-rushing duos. He replaces the departed Jadeveon Clowney, who notched 11.0 sacks in two seasons with the Browns and remains a free agent. Garrett, meanwhile, has 74.5 sacks over six seasons in the NFL, including 32.0 in the past two seasons.