Evaluating Za’Darius Smith’s $23.5 Million Deal with the Browns


The recent agreement reached between Za’Darius Smith and the Cleveland Browns was anticipated and positively received by supporters of the Browns. 

This encompasses a lucrative contract spanning two years and amounting to $23.5 million, securing the services of a top-tier pass rusher within Northeast Ohio. 

As we explore the nuances of this transaction, it is essential to scrutinize the potential ramifications, worth, and forthcoming developments associated with Smith’s retention by the Browns.

Browns’ Key Move: Keeping Za’Darius Smith

HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 13: Za’Darius Smith #99 of the Cleveland Browns jogs off the field before kickoff against the Houston Texans in the AFC Wild Card playoff game at NRG Stadium on January 13, 2024 in Houston, Texas.

At present, it is widely acknowledged that the Browns have finalized an agreement to extend the contract of defensive end Za’Darius Smith. 

As per information from league sources, the arrangement spans two years, with a base salary totaling $23.5 million and a potential additional amount of up to $25 million.

At 31 years old, Smith made significant contributions during his inaugural season with the Browns, including 5.5 sacks, 27 combined tackles, and 20 quarterback hits. 

He was originally selected by the Ravens in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft and spent the initial four seasons of his career in Baltimore before transitioning to the Green Bay Packers and subsequently the Minnesota Vikings.

The Browns acquired Smith through a trade with the Vikings in May of the previous year, amidst a period of salary restructuring. 

Cleveland modified Smith’s contract to allow for his exploration of free agency in the current year. It is unsurprising that the team prioritized retaining him, given his formidable presence on the opposite side of Myles Garrett, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. 

Together, they enhance an experienced defense that achieved a high ranking in the league during the previous season. 

Smith, a three-time Pro Bowler, started in all 16 games for Cleveland in 2023.

Za’Darius Smith’s Retention: A Win for the Browns

The Cleveland Browns’ decision to keep Za’Darius Smith is undoubtedly a victory. His contributions went beyond just his statistics last season. 

Furthermore, his exceptional chemistry with Myles Garrett positions him as the perfect complement. 

Securing him for an average annual value of slightly less than $12 million is a shrewd decision. 

This agreement solidifies Cleveland’s standing as one of the NFL’s dominant defensive forces.

Smith is expected to return to his position as the starting left defensive end. Naturally, he possesses the ability to adapt to different defensive strategies. 

Renowned for his exceptional play disruption and relentless pressure on opposing quarterbacks, Smith’s remarkable durability and unwavering consistency highlight his unwavering dependability.

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