The Cleveland Browns came out of the left field to make one of the biggest splashes of the NFL offseason.
They traded a couple of fifth-round picks to land veteran pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith and a couple of picks.
And while that move didn’t come as much of a surprise for NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, he did admit that it was a huge pickup for the Browns, especially at this point in the offseason when teams’ rosters are mostly set already.
"Za'Darius Smith is a big time pickup for the Cleveland Browns" ~ @RapSheet #PMSLive pic.twitter.com/b9DQOqG90g
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) May 15, 2023
Rapoport cited that he expected a trade to go down prior to the NFL Draft.
The Minnesota Vikings didn’t want to set a precedent by parting ways with him because he still had a couple of years left in his deal, so it was going to be better to find a trade suitor for his services.
Smith posted ten sacks last season despite being clearly limited in the second half of the campaign with a chronic knee injury.
He’ll now join Myles Garrett to put together one of the most explosive one-two punches of pass-rushers in the league, and that’s going to be huge for a Browns team that struggled defensively last season.
Deshaun Watson will steal most of the headlines, especially after the addition of Elijah Moore and rookie Cedric Tillman.
But Jim Schwartz and the Browns’ new-look defense could actually have an even more prominent role in Kevin Stefanski’s success, especially after all the big-time additions they made to that unit throughout the course of the off-season.NEXT: New Browns Player Has A Warning For The Rest Of The League