Vikings Trade Za’Darius Smith to Browns After He Requests Release 

The Vikings traded Pro Bowl linebacker Za’Darius Smith to the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday after he requested his release.

Smith, 29, was due to make $15 million in base salary in 2023, the final year of his contract. The Vikings will pay $7.5 million of that salary, while the Browns will pay $7.5 million.

Smith was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2019 with the Green Bay Packers. He had 13.5 sacks that season, which led the NFL. 

Smith signed a four-year, $64 million contract with the Vikings in 2020. However, he was limited to 10 games in 2021 due to a back injury. 

The Browns are in need of help at linebacker after losing Anthony Walker Jr. to free agency. Smith should be a major upgrade for their defense. 

The trade is a sign that the Vikings are rebuilding. They have already traded away several key players, including wide receiver Justin Jefferson and quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

The Browns are one of the favorites to win the AFC North in 2023. The addition of Smith should make them even more dangerous. 

The trade is a win-win for both teams. The Vikings get some salary cap relief, while the Browns get a Pro Bowl linebacker.