Browns Pull Off Trade for Vikings Pro Bowl Pass-Rusher

Getty The Browns have traded for Za'Darius Smith.

The Cleveland Browns got Myles Garrett a Pro Bowl dance partner, pulling off a trade for Minnesota Vikings edge rusher Za’Darius Smith on Friday.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network first reported the deal. He later added on what the Browns gave up, which was a pair of fifth-round picks. Cleveland also got 2025 sixth and seventh-round picks in the package with Smith.

The Browns were in search of another threat off the edge. Garrett has put up back-to-back 16 sacks seasons but hasn’t had a ton of help. The team signed Ogbo Okoronkwo in free agency but he’s far from a proven commodity. The 28-year-old defensive end has started just eight games in his career with the Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texans with 9.5 sacks to his name.

The addition of Smith is a game-changer for the Browns, who are building an attacking scheme under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Smith has notched double-digit sacks in three of his last four seasons. The lone time he did not was in 2021 when he missed all but one game with a back injury.

Smith is coming off a year in Minnesota where he had 10 sacks, 44 tackles (15 for loss), a career-high five passes defensed and one forced fumble.  In addition, Smith reworked his contract, which guarantees him $11.75 million in 2023 and he’ll be a free agent in 2024.

Browns Were Looking to Replace Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney

GettyThe Browns need a new version of Jadeveon Clowney.

The Browns had a hole opposite of Garrett with the departure of veteran Jadeveon Clowney. The former top pick in the 2014 draft left on bad terms, calling out the franchise and Garrett ahead of their season finale.

“I just feel like I need to be around somebody that believes in me and my ability,” Clowney told “(It can’t) just be me believing in myself. I believe in myself more than anybody.”

Clowney missed some time with injuries last season and finished with just two sacks and 28 tackles. He remains a free agent and a return to Cleveland is nearly impossible now that the Browns have Smith to pair with Garrett.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry teased after the draft that an impactful move could be on the way.

“There may be some other things that we’re looking to do either on the veteran market or trade market over the next several weeks,” Berry said during an interview with ESPN Cleveland.

Myles Garrett Excited About Browns’ New-Look Defense

Myles Garrett

GettyMyles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns needed a rebuild on defense this offseason and it started at the top. The team fired former defensive coordinator Joe Woods shortly after the end of the season and brought in Schwartz. The Browns have also replaced a few veterans, notably Clowney and safety John Johnson III.

Schwartz has been known for getting the most out of his guys up front and he now has two Pro Bowl weapons to work with in Smith and Garrett.

“I think his scheme will be tuned towards us, especially the guys up front, letting us go out there and hunt. He knows he has some great guys on the back end as well and he’s excited for the opportunity to utilize all of us,” Garrett said in April. “I know he’s going to make the most out of the talent he has in the room and if he does, that will showcase not only my talent, but all of our talents.”

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