3. Za'Darius Smith, EDGE
In need of another pass rusher across from Myles Garrett, the Browns swung a trade for Za'arius Smith. A former Pro Bowler who started his career with the Baltimore Ravens, Smith was with the Minnesota Vikings in 2022 but they were looking to shed some salary. Cleveland was looking for someone happy to be there after their relationship with Jadeveon Clowney fell apart.
Smith brought a lot of promise with more than 10 sacks in three of the past four seasons. The only exception was in 2021 when he was injured and appeared in just one game for the Green Bay Packers.
In Cleveland, he was able to play 16 games with 16 starts. It could have been 17 but he was one of many starters to rest in the finale against the Bengals. That means Smith finished the regular season with 27 tackles and 5.5 sacks.
He said at one point he expected more sacks but he was still one of the top EDGE players in the game. PFF had him ranked 18th overall at the position, meaning he was a huge part of the improved play on defense. Despite that, it's not likely he will be back in 2024.
Smith will turn 32 next September and can still ask for a lot of money. Cleveland has some younger players who can take the snaps including Ogbo Okoronkwo and Alex Wright, who had a sack in each of the final four games. The Browns will also need that money to add depth at wide receiver and potentially extend Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Unless Smith struggles to find a new home and takes a massive discount, this might be a one-year partnership.