Cleveland Browns signed former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith to add needed linebacker depth.
After Mack Wilson’s recent injury, the Cleveland Browns were pretty desperate for a new linebacker. B.J. Goodson, the team’s top linebacker acquisition before today, has the most NFL starts of any linebacker on the team with only 29 NFL starts.
Wilson was second on this list, with only 14 starts. The Browns had an extreme lack of experience and have addressed this issue with this move.
Malcolm Smith was originally a seventh round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2011. Coming out of USC, many never thought he would have the successful career he has had. Smith played for Seattle for four seasons, starting 16 games over that time span and winning the Super Bowl XLVIII MVP.
After his tenure in Seattle as mostly a backup, he spent two seasons in Oakland, starting 30 games. In 2018 he played his sole season with the San Francisco 49ers. Current Cleveland Browns defensive line coach Chris Kiffin was a part of the 49ers coaching staff that season, as he was the team’s pass rush specialist coach.
In 2019, Smith played for both the Jaguars and Cowboys, only playing in four games between the two teams and starting for Dallas once.
Smith will be playing this upcoming season at 31-years-old. His best football is likely behind him, but he brings a valuable veteran presence to this Browns’ linebacker room that desperately needs it.
Guys like Mack Wilson, Tae Davis, and Willie Harvey, who were day three draft picks or undrafted players, can learn some tips and tricks about going from being a barely making the roster type of guy to a long eight-year career.
Don’t expect Smith to come in and play lights out, as that has never been his style. Mostly a career backup, he won’t be a great starter for the team. The Browns linebacker room is still likely the biggest question mark on the roster, and will probably be addressed yet again next offseason.
It’s unlikely they bring in any other big named linebackers through trade or free agency this season, barring another injury.