Browns reportedly will sign defensive end Chris Smith


The Cleveland Browns have reportedly reached a deal with free agent defensive end Chris Smith.

Cleveland Browns fans who were waiting impatiently for the team to “do something” in free agency finally got their wish on Tuesday.

The club has reportedly agreed to a three-year, $14-million contract with defensive lineman Chris Smith.

The news was first reported by Peter Schrager at the NFL Network:

Smith, who is 6-foot-1 and 266 pounds, spent last season with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he posted three sacks while playing 35 percent of the team’s defensive snaps and appearing in all 16 games. He played his first three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars but struggled to find playing time. He appeared in just 19 games with Jacksonville, totaling 20 tackles and four-and-a-half sacks.

The Bengals reportedly wanted to keep Smith, so it is always a plus when the Browns can sign away a player from a division rival.

Smith served as a backup at both defensive end and defensive tackle for the Bengals, and liked the versatility of moving around on the line, according to an interview he did last November with the Dayton Daily News:

"“I think first off, when you play end, you can mostly just go. Inside you’ve got to know the protections and everything like that because if you don’t know the protection, I mean you’ll run into a brick wall most of the time. It’s just using my speed, just trying to move the guard’s feet and stuff like that, and correct in space. Guards don’t like that, when you correct space and have them on island. That’s one thing about it, trying to use my speed and beat their feet.”"

With the Browns, Smith will likely operate as a backup to defensive ends Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah, and can’t help but be an improvement over Nate Orchard and Lavar Edwards, who were good at taking up space in 2017 but not much else.

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Adding Smith has the potential to be a plus, but his presence on the roster will not deter general manager John Dorsey from selecting another defensive end in the 2018 NFL Draft as he continues to add to the defensive line position.