Za’Darius Smith agrees to terms with Vikings

NFL: JAN 22 NFC Divisional Round - 49ers at Packers
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Za'Darius Smith left the Ravens at the altar when he backed out of the four-year, $35 million agreement he had with the team.

Now, he’s not leaving the NFC North.

After visiting with the Vikings on Monday, Smith has agreed to a three-year, $42 million deal that’s worth up to $47 million, according to multiple reports.

So, Smith goes from making $8.75 million a year to $14 million. And he gets to face his former team in the Packers two times a year.

Smith missed nearly all of the 2021 season due to a back injury. But he did return for Green Bay’s playoff loss to San Francisco.

He was a Pro Bowler in 2019 and 2020, recording 13.5 sacks in 2019 and 12.5 sacks in 2020.

Smith spent his first four seasons with the Ravens, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 draft.

107 responses to “Za’Darius Smith agrees to terms with Vikings

  1. Wanting to hit Aaron as hard as possible at least twice per year has got to be a huge motive for this.

  2. Ohh it’s gonna be so fun tackling Green Bay #12! I would do it for free.

  3. That’s too much money for a player with his injury history. Good luck big guy.

  4. Considering how well the “stick it to the Packers” feeble attempts turned out from Favre, Longwell, and Jennings, nothing to see here. More of the same, no trophies in Minnehaha.

  5. Z is a good guy — wish him the best (except when playing the Packers, of course!)

  6. Too much money for a player coming off a serious back injury. Ravens are better off.

  7. Yeah, those back injuries that keep you out almost a full year, are known for how miraculously they heal.

  8. Fraudgers is gonna get pummeled next season. Kendricks, Hicks, Za’Darius, Hunter, Phillips, Harry. He may not honor that new contract.

  9. He is a one dimensional player. When on the field you can block him with a TE in the run game. Glad the Vikings signed him. He is a liability on defense.

  10. I’ve always loved having Z in Green Bay.
    Great player with a knack for getting after the QB and an enthusiasm for the game that is absolutely contagious.
    But, back injuries are tricky and it’s a difficult contract to sink major funds into.
    It’s definitely an expensive gamble.
    But I wish Za’Darius Smith all the best.

    Though I do find it curious how excited the purple trolls are about this news after listening to them crow for years about how overrated and ordinary he’s been. 🤔
    For what it’s worth, he should look good lining up next to Danielle Hunter………unfortunately it may just be in street clothes on the sideline. 😉

  11. Dude has 1 down year due to injury and now he’s injury prone? The nonsense in this comment section….

  12. Love this man’s game. He was a noticeable problem for many teams in 2019-2020 pre-injury. My only hope is this is to team him up with DHunt and not to replace him. That would be a dangerous combination…

  13. Bwahahahaha!!! Next up for the Vikes? Kevin King? Dennis Kelly? Hey they’re both upgrades. Keep going, magician. And ignore those who say don’t confuse activity for success.

    Still
    Keep
    On
    Losing!!! SKOL!!!!

  14. “Considering how well the “stick it to the Packers” feeble attempts turned out from Favre”

    Except Favre beat the Packers convincingly, twice, in his first year with the Vikings…

  15. If both him and Hunter come back at the same level, the pass rush looks scary good. Which might cover the deficiencies in the secondary which last year was scary bad.

  16. Now what’s going to happen to Danielle Hunter? Can they afford to keep both of these guys? Was Smith signed as a bookend or as a replacement? I can tell you I’d much rather have Hunter than this guy if it comes down to that.

    Maybe they’ve decided that they’ll generate a ferocious pass rush rather than sign competent cornerbacks.

  17. $14 million a year for damaged goods? No wonder the Vikings are such a mess!!

  18. I’m going to assume the Vikings medical staff checked him out very extensively. Great addition! Now let’s find an o-lineman before the draft and then go after CBs in the draft!

  19. You spend all your remaining cap space on a guy with a questionable back? Bold. Oh yeah, Viking fans don’t think he can play the run, either. So there’s that.

  20. mikethevike11 says:
    March 22, 2022 at 2:14 pm
    Wanting to hit Aaron as hard as possible at least twice per year has got to be a huge motive for this.

    This one was obviously all about the Money.

  21. Packers lose another piece. Vikings should be the betting favorites to win NFC North.

  22. Told my buddy – wouldnt it be crazy if he signed with the Vikes after he backed out of signing with Ravens?

    Maybe I should start to write a column

  23. At least they didn’t have to pay THIS big health question mark an $18 million bonus. At least.

  24. Not all that excited about this signing, although they did need a LB with 3-4 experience and it sounds as if the Vikes can get out of the contract with fairly limited damage if they need to. I worry about his back injury, and if memory serves correct, he was not all that efficient against the run. He will be a decent addition, but its not worth rubbing this one in the cheesers collective faces.

  25. Z is a darn good player,… he can get under and around a tackle pretty good,… but his drawbacks are his back injury and the fact he’s the position any team will run at. He’s a pass rusher,… and good at it.
    Not so good against the run game. Teams run at him.

  26. $14MM/yr is quite the jump from what he’d accepted with the Ravens. Makes me wonder how well his agent did his homework.

    I’d never be so petty as to wish a guy bad just because he went and got paid. Hard to see a downside anywhere here. GB shed someone they clearly didn’t need on defense and got to keep some other key pieces. MIN got a solid pass rusher who is coming off an injury, but was at least functional in his last game. It’s not like he was injured in week 15 hoping to be back before next season. Z got a nice contract making about what he was making in GB.
    Good for him.

  27. gopack1 says:
    March 22, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    Yeah, those back injuries that keep you out almost a full year, are known for how miraculously they heal.
    ________

    A back injury kept Danielle Hunter out all of 2020 and everyone was afraid he was done. He came back and looked like a beast last season until he tore his pec. Smith already came back at the end of the season so this is less of a risk than Hunter was.

  28. Z Smith is a top ten edge rusher when healthy. I hope he’s fully recovered by August, though he might be there already. The comment that he can be blocked by a TE is ridiculous, especially coming from Bucky who I’m sure watched Z make a few TEs look foolish. I wish Za’Darius good luck, except when he plays against the Pack, of course.

  29. I think there is significant risk here, but once in a while you gotta take a chance. Worried about the injury. Time will tell.

  30. Kwesi Adopho-Mensah is a failure already says:
    March 21, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    If he’s looking for more than four years, $35 million, I’ll take a hard pass on that one.

    +++++

    Good news. He’s only looking for 3 years @ $42 million. Enjoy!

  31. Are we talking the same Danielle Hunter who’s a 4-3 DE who was resigned to play DE in a 3-4 where ends are usually 310#?

    Yes, quite the magician. Keep signing cast-offs.. easy Kwesi.

  32. BuckyBadger says:
    March 22, 2022 at 2:28 pm
    He is a one dimensional player. When on the field you can block him with a TE in the run game. Glad the Vikings signed him. He is a liability on defense.
    /-///
    What? The dude had 26 sacks, over 100 tackles, and 5-6 forced fumbles in two seasons before his injury last season. I’d love to have 11 “liabilities” like that.

  33. “Wanting to hit Aaron as hard as possible at least twice per year has got to be a huge motive for this.”

    Ummm… thinkin’ maybe it has more to do with the fact that Minnesota is paying him 5.25 million dollars more per year than Baltimore was going to. Just sayin’.

  34. Man I thought Z got his money last time…this is tough. Was hoping he’d be happy with a reduction to keep the band together but he doubles-down on greed over what a Baltimore homecoming would’ve had? Pettine and M. Smith lobbying, methinks. Even at about 56 years old, Marcedes Lewis can handle him on a run play so I think it’s too much for a 1-dimensional guy, but he is serious impact difference-maker when healthy at crunch-time.

  35. Vikes got two bad backs on their defensive line. Not a recipe for success.

  36. Careful A-Aron! You don’t make many friends as a teammate. Or as a person in general for that matter. Smith is coming for you.

  37. mhouser1922 says:
    March 22, 2022 at 2:44 pm

    Packers lose another piece. Vikings should be the betting favorites to win NFC North.
    ********
    Technically, the Packers didn’t lose another piece, they had already moved on from a player who barely played a handful of meaningful snaps last season.
    A season in which the Packers still finished 6 games ahead of the Vikings. SIX GAMES!!!

    Losing Davante is a far bigger issue then anything else and that will be addressed shortly.
    But, as silver linings go, re-upping Douglas and Campbell are the blessings that go with that.

    Otherwise, I’ve seen absolutely nothing in the short term that leads me to believe anything has really changed.
    But, Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night. 😉

  38. tnpacker says:
    March 22, 2022 at 2:41 pm
    mikethevike….really???I seriously doubt that.

    _________________

    My tongue may have been slightly in cheek.

    Obviously money was a bigger factor and I have no idea about how Rogers’ teammates feel about him but is it really that hard to imagine some of the people he spent time with don’t really hate him as a person and would love the opportunity to knock him out? Regardless of the respect they (and myself and many Vikings fans) may have for his game.

  39. Todays misinformation is tomorrows information says:
    March 22, 2022 at 2:33 pm
    Dude has 1 down year due to injury and now he’s injury prone? The nonsense in this comment section….
    ___________

    He only had one more tackle than you last year, and the thing about back problems, there are still going to have issues with it still, back issues never get 100% better, its gonna be tight or pain flare up, thats as guaranteed as a Kirk Cousins contract In Minn, He will fit the new scheme well, and finding the right players that make that transition easier for a team isn’t always the easiest.

  40. Great signing. It instantly gives the Vikings a top 3 pass rush in the NFL and helps out the secondary. SKOL

  41. I just read GB’s punter has a perfect 158.3 QB rating against the Vikings. The rich just keep getting richer.

  42. I accept that mikethevike,and hope for a healthy season for both our teams.If Hunter can stay on the field,and Smith is healed,it might make for a good season for you.Much respect either way.

  43. Not surprising that he signed with the Vikings. Highly doubtful that they’ll get their money’s worth out of him though. His best days are behind him and the Vikes are good at overspending.

  44. This Viking front 7 was really good in their prime. It will be interesting to see how good they might be next season.

  45. Great guy, I wish him the best. Unfortunately injury prone and on the back side of his career.

  46. Z played a lot of very good football for the Packers and is a larger-than-life personality. He’ll definitely be missed.

  47. A great pass rush will compensate for having only average cornerbacks. I wish the heck we could find a few average cornerbacks though. This is a help but still a center, a guard and 2 corners shy of what we need. But hey, we got Sean Mannion!

  48. Welcome, Zadarius, to the best team in the NFL. Best players, best owners, best fans and best stadium!! You’ve made the wisest decision of your career!!

    Ladies and Gentlemen… your Super Bowl LVII champions!!!

  49. Why isn’t Baltimore whining, complaining and crying a river because he backed out, like Buffalo seems to do?Brandon Beane “won” the offseason with that grade 3 display he put on.

  50. Wisconsin77 says:
    March 22, 2022 at 3:59 pm
    Great guy, I wish him the best. Unfortunately injury prone and on the back side of his career.
    ////
    1 injury and 29 years old.

  51. Karma can be a cruel mistress…….good luck big fella.

  52. Everyone thinking their clever with the “Za-Darius wants to hit Rodgers” take…
    No kidding? I bet I can name 31 quarterbacks that he wants to hit.

    Spring has pretty well sprung in most of the US. Open some windows and wander outside for a few minutes.

  53. Rodgers is going to get pummled? The dude didnt play last year…. good job Vikes… the new regime in Mike Tice reincarnated

  54. So that’s the plan.

    Blame Cousin’s inability to win close games on a raft of injuries to the defense.

    Same as the previous regime.

    Whoo Hoo.

  55. KnowsMoreThanYou says:
    March 22, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    1 injury and 29 years old.
    +++++
    back injuries linger, Z will turn 30 before the first regular season game is played.

    $14 million a year doesn’t hedge the risk much at all.

  56. KnowsMoreThanYou says:
    March 22, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    1 injury and 29 years old.
    _____

    It only takes one injury they have your career derailed, look at players like Laqueon Treadwell, who at college had that terrible injury, or in the Pros you have guys like Culpepper, Bo Jackson, and RG3.

    Granted everyone recovers differently, he needs to get back out there. Last year it felt GB fans kept hearing how close he was to coming back and it never seemed to happen, so were there setbacks, or he wasn’t healing well? The fact he agreed to terms with Balt, then went for a cash grab, like it’s his final contract also raises a red flag, as I feel that’s something people coming off major injuries do (Javon Walker) when they are concerned about their recovery.

  57. I can’t help but notice that the Vikings didn’t have the cap space to sign Smith earlier today. They can gain $13.5 million by changing Hunter’s roster bonus to a signing bonus, which is about what it would take to sign Smith. They’ve already done a bunch of restructures and I’m not sure how much more they can do there. If you’re hoping for JC Tretter and a cornerback or two, you might be out of luck. Still wondering if trading Hunter is still part of the plan.

    By the way, edge rusher is one of the deepest positions in the draft this year and that’s a position that can make an impact right away. It might have made more sense to draft a guy and devote the free agency dollars to positions that are harder to fill.

  58. The fact he agreed to terms with Balt, then went for a cash grab, like it’s his final contract also raises a red flag,

    +++++

    His agent apparently misunderstood the market by a wide margin, and would have locked up Z for an additional year while making millions less. That’s borderline malpractice. Should Smith have gotten this info before he agreed to Baltimore’s terms? Yes. Was he right to not sign on the dotted line when it became apparent? Also, yes.

  59. When I see him on the field I’ll just hand him the ball and ask him politely, to gingerly step around my broken pinky toe while I prance away like a ballerina, and let him go in for a touchdown.

  60. coolzog says:

    March 22, 2022 at 2:38 pm

    “Considering how well the “stick it to tPackers” feeble attempts turned out from Favre”

    Except Favre beat the Packers convincingly, twice, in his first year with the Vikings…
    _____________________

    Favre threw it all away to Tracy Porter. Meanwhile, one year later, Rodgers was hoisting the Lombardi trophy. Couldn’t make it up if I tried, lol. 😆

  61. Bring it on. Zadarius is a great pass rusher but he has no gap integrity. Teams just run at him and he’s already deep in the backfield or he cuts inside just in time to see the running back or the QB jogging outside for a first down. He’s a third and long player.

  62. I love the win now mentality, which is much better than what the Bears are doing. I’m sure glad we got Kwesi instead of Ryan.

  63. Get used to it pack fans. Once again, A-Rod got his and he isn’t sharing. Get ready for more to walk every offseason for the next 3 years while one person gets 50 million per.

  64. It instantly gives the Vikings a top 3 pass rush in the NFL
    ++++++
    DJ Wonnum had more sacks last year than Hunter and Smith combined. Wonnum’s cap number is under $1.1 million. The other two, North of $40 million.
    Let that sink in!

  65. He’s the latest version of Clay Matthews. The Packers were wise to let him go sooner than later.

  66. Greg Jennings left Green Bay to play for the Vikings so he could get even. Who did that work out?

    Brett Favre ended up with the Vikings to get even with the Packers. How did that work out?

    Z. Smith leaves Green Bay to play for the Vikings……..

  67. I think this year for the Vikes it’s going to be about the new HC. Give him a year to figure out the extent of the looming tear down. I don’t think this move helps them that much. If they get in the playoffs because it’s a bad division it will prolong the inevitable rebuild by wasting some years retooling.

  68. If he’s healthy, Smith’s a menace as a pass rusher. He is a liability as a run defender, though. He’s more likely to help the Vikings than Datone Jones did, but my guess is they overpaid. Guess we’ll see.

  69. Funny how just before the packers lost in the playoffs the fans were all about getting an “All-Pro” or “Top 5 edge rusher” in the game (their words not mine) back. Now after Aaron choked again in the playoffs the guy is a bum.

  70. Packer fans said this guy was great when he was on their team and now they say he’s garbage. So were you lying then or are you lying now?

  71. Packers fans having a total meltdown on the internet. The Schadenfreude is deliciously and exquisitely tasteful. Like a good cheese with a fine wine. A A Ron won’t save you…. Help us Lazard you’re our only hope….. haha

    Smith will be just fine, nothing motivates a man more than proving people wrong!

  72. LamarJacksonisElite says:
    March 22, 2022 at 6:28 pm
    This guy is a Welcher. Buyer beware! From a confused Ravens fan.
    /////
    I’m sorry that you aren’t aware of the difference between a verbal agreement and a signed contract.

  73. meheuring says:
    March 22, 2022 at 6:07 pm
    If he’s healthy, Smith’s a menace as a pass rusher. He is a liability as a run defender, though. He’s more likely to help the Vikings than Datone Jones did, but my guess is they overpaid. Guess we’ll see.
    /////
    He averaged 13 sacks and over 50 tackles a season before his injury last year. And he had 5 forced fumbles. Anywhere near that and he will out earn this contract.

  74. packerlies says:
    March 22, 2022 at 5:47 pm
    It instantly gives the Vikings a top 3 pass rush in the NFL
    ++++++
    DJ Wonnum had more sacks last year than Hunter and Smith combined
    ////
    What a strange cherry picking of stats. First, and obviously, the other two guys were injured. Second, all you’ve really proven here is that the Vikings have at least 3 nice pass rushers. Thanks for noticing!

  75. A dream come true for us. An ex-Packer on the team! Doesn’t get much better.

  76. unknownvikingfan says:
    March 22, 2022 at 7:53 pm
    A dream come true for us. An ex-Packer on the team! Doesn’t get much better.

    ___________________

    Don’t forget they said the same thing about my nemesis Favre who was an ex-Falcon, White who was an ex-Eagle, me an ex-Niner (oh wait, never mind), and the list goes on, and on, and on.

  77. RMoss84HOF says:
    March 22, 2022 at 6:23 pm
    Funny how just before the packers lost in the playoffs the fans were all about getting an “All-Pro” or “Top 5 edge rusher” in the game (their words not mine) back. Now after Aaron choked again in the playoffs the guy is a bum.
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    You and Rodgers would get along fine. You’re both liars.

  78. I’ve put a lot of stock into Vic Ketchman’s football IQ and after he left employ of GB and Z was in his prime he cautioned about Smith’s overall value. Unlike Gary (who you all laughed about when drafted) and Preston, Z couldn’t set the edge against the run and played outside the scheme relatively often, which frustrates the hell out of all coaches. He was a great leader, great guy and great pass rusher and GB fans I’m sure are happy to have had him. But with his contract demands and liability against the run and now this injury, the value wasn’t there. If he keeps his “”$1M per sack” rate and you’re happy to have him, good for you. GB didn’t think that was worth it. The likelihood he regresses and the Vikes pay him $1.5M per sack is greater than him paying dividends at $750K per sack. I don’t know one Packers fan who thinks this is a loss for GB.

  79. I like this guy a lot, wish him all the best. Packers fan but kinda looking forward to seeing him sack Rodgers.

  80. It works the other way too. For some reason I think he’s better than he was. Really though, hope he can get 12 plus sacks. And Hunter too. That’d be great, but we still need corners.

  81. No one wins the offseason like the Minnesota Vikings. Congratulations on your signing, I’m happy for ya.

  82. Greg Jennings left Green Bay to play for the Vikings so he could get even. Who did that work out?
    ===========

    He went there beacuse thats who paid him the most. Seems like he got what he wanted.

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