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Browns re-sign DE Za'Darius Smith

Smith totaled the second-most sacks for the Browns during the 2023 season


The Browns secured another edge rusher and key piece of their defense on Wednesday, as they re-signed DE Za'Darius Smith to a two-year deal. 

"There's something special brewing here in Cleveland," Smith said. "Last year was the start of it and I'm just so happy to be able to come back. [...] Happy that I get a chance to continue my career here in Cleveland."

Cleveland first traded for the three-time Pro Bowler in May 2023, sending a 2024 fifth-round pick an a 2025 fifth-round pick to Minnesota in exchange for Smith, a 2025 sixth-round pick and a 2025 seventh-round pick.

His addition was an important piece to their defensive line, as he was an integral part of their success during the 2023 season. Smith excelled in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz' attack-oriented defense, as he finished the season with the second-most sacks with 5.5 – only behind DE Myles Garrett. He also tallied 27 tackles, eight tackled for loss, 20 quarterback hits, three passes defensed and one forced fumble.

Last season the Browns defense led the NFL in several categories including total defense (270.2 yards per game), passing defense (164.7 yards per game), third down percentage (67-of-230 for 29.1 percent) and first downs allowed (253). The Browns also set a franchise record for sacks in a season with 48.

"That's just the start," Smith said. "And that was just the first year, so picture how we can be year two and year three. It's gonna be big man. And I'm just excited because this locker room, it's a brotherhood and we get a chance to basically be together each and every day. We go out to eat on Wednesdays. Monday night, we watch Monday Night Football. So, it's really like a brotherhood."

Originally a fourth-round pick by the Ravens in 2015, Smith has appeared in 123 career games with 90 starts with the Ravens (2015-18), Packers (2019-21) and Vikings (2022). He has recorded 298 career tackles, 60.0 sacks and two fumble recoveries.

Now, Smith is entering his 10th year in the league, and he reflected on being at this place in his career.

"I'm just so excited and happy that I get an opportunity to just continue my career," Smith said. "You know a lot of guys don't make it to this point. But for me, it's bigger than that. It's about this family and leaving a legacy, and I hope I can leave a legacy."