Za'Darius Smith trade details: Vikings trade pass rusher back into AFC North with Browns after release request
Za'Darius Smith trade details: Vikings trade pass rusher back into AFC North with Browns after release request
Breaking down Vikings, Browns' trade involving Za'Darius Smith

Za'Darius Smith's revenge tour against the Packers didn't quite go as planned.

After just one year on the Vikings, the pass-rusher requested a release so he could pursue other opportunities. He played in 16 games last year, logging 10 sacks amid his third Pro Bowl season in four years. The Vikings didn't release Smith, instead opting to trade him to the Browns for a pick swap.

For what it's worth, Smith doesn't seem to be leaving Minnesota with especially hard feelings:

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! 💜

— Za'Darius Smith (@zadariussmith) March 9, 2023

The knee-jerk reaction to the trade: It's a win-win for both teams. The Vikings get 2024 and 2025 fifth-rounders from the Browns, while Cleveland adds veteran depth to a defensive line that just added Siaki Ika and Isaiah McGuire in the third and fourth rounds of the draft, respectively. The Browns also don't need Smith to be dominant — they have Myles Garrett for that.

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Here are the details of the trade, from Tom Pelissero:

The full trade, per league source:#Browns get:
Za'Darius Smith
2025 6th-round pick
2025 7th-roundpick#Vikings get:
2024 5th-round pick
2025 5th-round pick

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 12, 2023

Za'Darius Smith trade details

Browns receive

  • DE Za'Darius Smith
  • 2025 sixth-round pick
  • 2025 seventh-round pick

Vikings receive

  • 2024 fifth-round pick
  • 2025 fifth-round pick

The Browns have been playing fast and loose with draft capital for the past few years, so this deal probably doesn't get done without those two picks attached to Smith. However, the Vikings now get out from under a player who didn't want to be there next year, while still adding picks.

MORE: Browns schedule 2023: Dates & times for all 17 games

Ultimately, the impact of the trade is relatively negligible outside of Smith himself, so it's a reasonable exchange for both teams.

The Browns also reworked Smith's contract, giving him $11.75 million guaranteed and making him a free agent next March. So Smith is getting his requested release — it's just coming a year delayed.

Za'Darius Smith contract

Last year, Smith signed a three-year, $42 million contract with the Vikings that would have kept him there through the 2025 season. After just a year, he requested a release.

The three-time Pro Bowler is now effectively on a one-year deal after reworking his contract. He will make $11.75 million in Cleveland before hitting free agency in 2024.

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