The Minnesota Vikings are reportedly trading Pro Bowl linebacker Za'Darius Smith to the Cleveland Browns, sources with knowledge of the deal confirmed to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero on Friday (May 12).
"The #Vikings are trading three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Za’Darius Smith to the #Browns, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. His reworked deal guarantees him $11.75 million in 2023 and he’ll be a FA next March. Deal negotiated by his new agent @ErikBurkhardt of Ronald Isley
The Browns will reportedly also receive a sixth-round and seventh-round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft, while the Vikings will receive a 2024 fifth-round and 2025 fifth-round pick, according to Pelissero.
Smith reportedly requested his release from the Vikings less than a full year after signing with the franchise as a free agent on March 9, Rapoport reported at the time. The Pro Bowl linebacker Smith posted a tweet thanking Vikings fans and the organization for "an amazing season and experience" amid Rapoport's report.
"I just want to say 'Thank you!' to Skol Nation for an amazing season & experience! Thank you to all of my Teammates, Coaches & the entire Minnesota Vikings Organization," Smith tweeted.
Smith, who had previously spent three years with the NFC North Division rival Green Bay Packers, signed a three-year deal with the Vikings in March 2022, having reportedly turned down a our-year, $35 million offer from the Baltimore Ravens with a maximum of $50 million with incentives before accepting Minnesota's offer, Pelissero reported at the time. The 30-year-old linebacker recorded 44 tackles, 10 sacks and 15 tackles for loss during his lone season with the Vikings.
Smith had previously recorded 107 tackles, 26.0 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, 60 QB hits and four forced fumbles during his first two seasons in Green Bay, starting in all 16 regular-season games during both the 2019 and 2020 seasons, which resulted in back-to-back NFC Championship Game appearances, but was limited to just one appearance during the 2021 season after experiencing a back injury in training camp and playing only 18 snaps in the team's Week 1 regular-season loss.
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