Vikings trade Za’Darius Smith to Cleveland
The Vikings are trading edge rusher Za’Darius Smith and two late-round future draft picks to Cleveland in exchange for two future fifth-round draft picks. The initial reports came from the NFL Network.
The Associated Press also confirmed the deal with a person familiar with the situation.
The Vikings receive Cleveland’s 5th-round picks in both 2024 and 2025. Cleveland gets Smith along with the Vikings 6th and 7th-round picks in 2025.
Smith had been giving strong indications he would not return to the Vikings for a second season in Minnesota.
Moving Smith seemed even more inevitable when the Vikings signed edge rusher Marcus Davenport before the draft.
Smith had 10 sacks in 2022, his only season as a Viking, but much of his production came in the first half of the season.
He joined the Vikings on a deal that initially included a $5-million guarantee for 2023 and ran through 2024. But that deal was re-worked to guarantee him $11.75-million for 2023.
Smith will be a free agent after the 2023 season.
A report from Cleveland.com says the Vikings will continue to pay some of Smith’s salary. The exact amount is unclear.
But at least a portion of Smith’s guaranteed money will come off the Vikings already-strapped salary cap number as they face potential contract extensions for receiver Justin Jefferson and edge rusher Danielle Hunter.