Vikings trade Za’Darius Smith to Browns

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The Vikings are trading edge rusher Za'Darius Smith to the Browns, NFL Media reports.

The Browns get Smith, a 2025 sixth-round pick and a 2025 seventh-round pick, while the Vikings get a fifth-round pick in 2024 and a fifth-round pick in 2025.

Smith’s renegotiated contract guarantees him $11.75 million in 2023 before he becomes a free agent next March.

After one season in Minnesota, Smith asked for his release.

He signed with the Vikings a year ago after backing out of an agreement with the Ravens and totaled 44 tackles, 10 sacks, 24 quarterback hits and a forced fumble in 16 starts in earning his third career Pro Bowl.

Smith spent four years in Baltimore and three in Green Bay before landing in Minnesota. Now, he’s on his way to Cleveland, giving the Browns a formidable pass rushing duo with Myles Garrett.

74 responses to “Vikings trade Za’Darius Smith to Browns

  1. He finally realized that going from the Packers to the Vikings wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

  2. Good for him. He deserves to get paid and that was not going to happen in minnesota. At least got something from nothing

  3. Za’Darius’s odds of winning a Lombardi Trophy just skyrocketed now that he’s with the Browns.

    There’s a sentence you don’t hear every day.

  4. Smith was a great addition to GB’s defense, but injuries and attitude intervened. He’s a malcontent and will be out of football in 2 years. But, he’s set for life.

  5. Browns GM Berry comes from Philly. where trading for Vets is a way of life . the Browns stocking up on Vet Players .. being young doesnt win in the NFL..

  6. Lol, this guy. Didn’t learn anything from Ryan Longwell, Brett Favre, or Greg Jennings. “Stick it to the Packers” always ends in an epic fail. What’s this tour called? Stick it to the Ravens?

  7. Shame to see him go, especially for such a paltry return; for half a season he was a force, but he fell off a cliff and I guess the Vikings would rather have the cap space. Instead of releasing him (like he wanted), they essentially traded a 6 and a 7 for two 5s to the Browns. Better than nothing, I guess.

  8. The only situation where the city of Cleveland is an upgrade! Good for you Z, finally out of that mess.

  9. Well, he didn’t get his release, but for better or worse the Vikes unloaded him and his contract and got two 5ths. Now Smith has the opportunity to ask the Browns to release him after a year with the Browns. Now Cook???

  10. Lots to unpack in this move:

    1) I wonder if there’s any relation to his unhappiness and the excused absences toward the end of the season.

    2) I wonder what the players really think of O’Connell’s players approach. It seems like it isn’t enough to keep guys around, especially on defense.

    3) Related, having first class facilities don’t seem to mean much or enough.

    4) Two 5th rounds picks seems like they’re jettisoning a guy who really had a poor 2nd half of the season.

    5) Will they acquire a starting calibur edge rusher now or go with what they have?

    6) Did this help the Vikings cap wise? Is Z’s loss, Cook’s gain?

  11. Vikings got 10.5 sacks from ZDS last year for $3MM plus another $3MM in deadcap this year. The Packers paid ZDS more while he was with the Vikings than the Vikings did. LOL.

  12. @singularityknow….cook is next
    …traded or release. No way they re-sign Madison and keep an older versión.

    Hope you didn’t buy the #4 jersey to go along with 33.

    Btw…Smith was good for one month.

  13. Guys who can get 10 sacks don’t grow on trees. Browns basically got him for nothing, and $11 mil isn’t a lot for a productive edge rusher. So that tells me the Vikings really didn’t like him.

  14. Two 5ths for a 30 yo pro-bowler? No lose proposition for Barry here. He may be terrible and you only gave up 2 5ths. If he just plays average for the Browns, it’s a win. They needed another body there.

  15. henrythehorse says:
    May 12, 2023 at 8:10 pm
    Browns GM Berry comes from Philly. where trading for Vets is a way of life . the Browns stocking up on Vet Players .. being young doesnt win in the NFL..
    He spent 1 year in Philly and was the VP of football operations.

  16. Yikes!!! How bad is it in Loserville, when a player will scratch and claw his way out just to get to Cleveland?

  17. Mattison is an inferior version of Cook in every way. They have the same weaknesses, but cook’s ceiling is much higher. The Mattison resigning is very curious. I wonder if they strongly felt the best RB’s were going to be drafted as early as they were. I thought for sure they’d let Cook and Mattison walk and target Bijan in the 20’s like he was projected to go.

  18. “Stick it to the Packers” always ends in an epic fail.
    I think he did stick it to GB. Minnesota was far and away the best team in the division. Packers won how many games? He started great… was pretty much a no show towards the end of the season. He was dealing with a nagging knee injury. He’s gone now… so, I think he came out ahead.

  19. This basically is a cap relief trade for the Vikings. If it wasn’t for the cap problem, the Vikings would have gotten a player in this trade. Of course, when you have a player that didn’t want to be on your team and would be gone in 2024, you will need to do a trade so you can get something. The Browns knew this. BTW, in 2022, Smith did get a bunch of sacks in the first 9 games. Hardly any in the last 8 games. Was it because he is 30 and it is the backend of the season that caused productivity decrease??? Basically, the Vikings needed to do a business transaction, like it or not.

  20. But I thought everyone wanted to play for our Vikings . . . and would take less money to be a long term part of the franchise!??!??

  21. Cleveland just may bump the Ravens to the cellar of the North.

  22. There are more comments in this thread from Packer fans than from Viking fans. Speaking as a Viking fan, I find this kind of thing fascinating. I wouldn’t read a Packer thread if I were standing at the corner of Jefferson and Walnut at high noon with my life dependent on it. (Not that my life would be in any danger; not much traffic in that town.)

  23. Real Simple –
    – Z Smith wanted more money…he wasn’t going to get it. The team is getting younger
    – The Vikings would rather spend cap space on the following who all need to be signed and are under 30: D. Hunter, JJ, Hockenson, and Darisaw.
    – The Vikings had around 1.4 million in cap space so this gives them over 15mil
    – Cook is next for trade or cut which would then give them 24 million enough to sign rookies etc
    – Assuming the above the Vikings go into 2024 with over 59 million in cap space. Something that has not happened in a long time

    Looking at the NFC after the SF and PHILLY it’s a log jam. The Vikings will be good enough to make the playoffs again. This trade doesn’t change that.

  24. The Browns are spending a lot of money to finish third in their division and miss the playoffs.

  25. Opposite of Garrett, he will have a lot of 1 on 1’s. This could turn out to be a good move for the Browns if he stays level headed. Low risk possible high risk reward.

  26. I think Smith was perceived by the Packers as having reached or was very close to reaching his expiration window. They weren’t far off.

  27. O’Connell and Quasimoto are both clowns. The y did nothing the whole off season to help the defense and lose the few players that were at least decent. This year is going to be so much worse. The O will need min 40 points to have a chance to win. Just awful!!

  28. The only thing z smith truely cares about is his wallet. He got pissy with the pack for not offering him a big renewed contract and then after one season in Viking ville he pulled the same thing, I want da mooney pleas and they shipped him out to.

  29. Dude can make average or lower offensive tackles look like they don’t belong in the league but once he faces an above average tackle, he disappears.

    He clearly wanted out of MN because he wants more money and wasn’t going to get it. I wish he was staying regardless because our pass rush was much improved with him out there. I doubt he has more than 2 more years in the league though. He has injury problems. Would be a great rotational/situational pass rusher to help keep him healthy.

  30. He’s a huge diva and locker room issue. Once the Browns play like the Browns he will quit on the team. Good luck.

  31. About what I figured they’d get for someone that wanted out of Minnesota. The league knew the Vikes didn’t hold a lot of bargaining power. Definitely frees up cap space and a disgruntled Smith moves on. 

  32. Once talented but ultimate malcontent “me-first guy.” Completely shafted the Packers on his last year there, then took his act to Minnesota where he apparently wore out his welcome quickly also. If he has a couple good games Brown fans, just wait he’ll want more money or suddenly be on the injury list.

  33. He was the Vikings defense early in the season. But he was ready yo leave and hopefully this says something positive about the other edge rushers on the roster. Wonnam is ok but inconsistent. we need a lot more from somewhere.

  34. Happen to agree with JoJo here; Guys that can give u 10 sacks a season don’t grow on trees. For what was given up here ( the equivalent of 1 6th and 1 7th Rd pick) be it for a 1 year rental, is highway robbery. CLe with a sneaky good off season.

  35. This thread… We got a bit more than nothing for Z. Nothing is exactly what we would have gotten if we’d put a strangle hold on keeping him here. And as far as the attention span of this thread, I don’t know how y’all got on Dalvin but here’s the deal. Dalvin may have the higher ceiling than Mattison, but Dalvin’s ceiling is vaulted and he passed the high point last year. Mattison hasn’t been allowed to show what he can do handling 1A duties in a younger, less expensive, and likely more durable vehicle. Y’all are the ones playing chess when the game is checkers. Dumb.

  36. He will get injured once again this season in Cleveland.its hard to contribute from IR and he is an injury waiting to happen.

  37. He wanted out of Baltimore, treated the Packers like the plague and fled Minnesota. It’s the player, not the team. Unhappy man will be unhappy in Cleveland too.

  38. The fact of the matter is ZDS knew he was on the salary cap chopping block so he asked for a trade or release. Hopefully Davenport is a younger cheaper version of ZDS. The vikes now have room to sign their rookies. I expect Cook to be traded after June 1 to the Dolphins. There are advantages for both teams under the salary cap to wait until June 1. There is a lot of talk about Mattison but I believe the Vikes really like Ty Chandler as a more comparable replacement to Cook. After trading Cook they can then possibly turn their attention to Hunter and or Jefferson. I’m not 100% on Hunter, there are a lot of injuries there and I can’t tell if they were real or faked. It seems like his commitment is always in question.

  39. From what I see on Over The CAP, the ZDS trade puts them 13.2M under the cap. Trading Cook Pre June 1 would put them $21M under the cap or $24M if traded post June 1. These moves also make 2024’s numbers look much better. Gives them room to deal with Jefferson, Hockenson and Hunter.

  40. From what I’ve read, he’s getting $11+M, and the Vikings are picking up $3M, I think. So the Browns swapped 5th round picks for 2 7ths, and are paying $8M or so for an aging pro bowler with some injury and apparent attitude issues. It almost sounds like Jadaveon Clowney, part 2…with some differences. Smith has more of a proven track record as a sack producer, apparently does not need a superstar DE on the other side in order for Smith to get 10 sacks (but it’s nice he has that in Cleveland!), and the Browns are on the hook for a bit less salary than they were with Clowney’s 1st year.
    The Browns do not need him to play every down since they also signed Okoronkwo. That should mitigate the injury and age risks somewhat.
    IMO, this was a good signing for the Browns, even if it has some risk.

  41. Z was only guaranteed $5M this season with the Vikings. He now gets over $11M from the Browns. Good move all around. He wasn’t coming back so the Vikings got 2 5th rd picks.

  42. If you waited two weeks you would’ve gotten 2 mil more in cap space, but ok

  43. Can’t keep all of them…

    When Vikings have to pay Jefferson…

    Window doesn’t close completely shut on them…

    But it gets really, really close.

  44. Vikes can only slip one spot in the defensive rankings. The offense looks good, but with that defense, a 30 point lead isn’t safe. They should still be good enough to fight for a playoff spot

  45. It matters not. Minnesota was arguably the best team in the league last year with him, and they’ll once again be odds-on favorites to win it all this year without him. Vikings back-ups would be starters on any other team in the league, so it’s just a case of next-man-up. We’ll be just fine.

  46. There’s a rumor the Vikings traded him because the Bears would have picked him up if cut and they didn’t want that happening. On the other hand if he’s as much of a headcase as the comments here would indicate, I’m pretty sure Ryan Poles would have taken a pass. So whatever.

  47. Green Bay treated Z with class,… and in return he he bad mouthed the team and made false accusations about how the team tracked his rehab from back surgery. He’s a disgruntled man. He won’t be happy anywhere unless they treat him like a superstar.

  48. Davenport will replace Smiths production and there are some second stringers that could emerge this year under Flores. Good Move for Cap, team and locker room.

  49. A good risk for the Browns, no biggie if he craps out…a win/win for both teams…

  50. An absolute steal for the Browns, even if he flakes out again and only plays one season there. . .

  51. Very undisciplined player and he’s not getting any younger. Glad we got anything for him.

  52. He pulled what Gary did in college “told the team he, not the team doctor or trainer” would decide when he was ready to come back from injury. Ya and during that time he tried to get a new contract and while it was being discussed his injury seemed to linger til they told him they werent going to renew his contract at that moment in time.
    He did come back but did little getting pissy and asking for a trade.
    Hey he is smart enough to know the end is in sight get da moooooney or else.

  53. Vikings are freeing up money to give Kirk another long term fully guaranteed contract.

  54. nica4ever says:
    May 13, 2023 at 7:39 pm
    Vikings are freeing up money to give Kirk another long term fully guaranteed contract.

    ……it’ll be better than the contract Rodgers had with the Packers!

  55. Longtimepackerfan says:
    May 13, 2023 at 3:55 pm
    He went from one purgatory to another.
    Just wait until you’re in the middle of your long stretch of purgatory Pecker fans. It’s gonna be the 70’s again for you on one continuous loop 🤣

  56. Seems like Jim Scwhartz actually plans on using his defense instead of the “Hopefully Miles will get the sack and I can collect a check like I’m doing something” method of coaching that Joe Woods was doing in Cleveland. It’s unfortunate they didn’t fire Woods sooner because had the defense been better called with the talent they had, the Browns were probably a Superbowl contender in 2020 and 21 even with Baker Mayfield only playing well when he felt like it.

    They are definitely in a “Win now” mode in Cleveland and the fact that they only have two national games and they have a similar schedule to the last time they made the playoffs probably only helps them.

  57. “Long stretch of purgatory” for the Packers? Wonder if it will last as long as the one our Vikings are enduring . . . 60+ seasons of not being able to win the big game.

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