Cleveland Browns Free Agent Option No. 1 – Za’Darius Smith, Defensive End
Coming into this offseason, resigning Jadeveon Clowney seemed like the number one priority for the Browns with keeping Njoku a close second. With one of those done, it appears that keeping Clowney is less and less likely.
Once again it has been reported that he is willing to wait and see how things pan out. The bottom line is, the Browns don’t have time to wait on him. They have a hole at defensive end and if he wants to move on, go ahead.
He was fantastic in 2021, but he does this every offseason.
With Za’Darius Smith now on the market after being released by the Packers, he is the perfect fit for the Cleveland Browns. Not only has he had a ton of production for multiple teams, but the Browns would also get compensatory picks in 2023 for Clowney leaving as well.
What’s the one question mark on Smith, is he healthy after missing almost the entire 2021 season with a back injury? Before 2021, he had only missed seven games, so it’s safe to say injuries aren’t common, but a back is one of those things that is tough to come back from. It seems like they usually heal up perfectly or are never the same again.
Smith will cost a pretty penny, but at 29-years old, the Browns should be all in. He will have interest from others, but the option to play across from a guy like Myles Garrett should help seal the deal.
The veteran pass rusher will see more single teams in Cleveland than he has his entire career with the Ravens and Packers, which could help convince him to give the Browns a shot.