After two months in limbo, Za'Darius Smith and the Minnesota Vikings have divorced.
The Pro Bowl linebacker was traded to the Cleveland Browns on Friday in exchange for a swap of draft picks. Tom Pellicero of NFL Network, The Vikings will reportedly receive fifth-round picks in the 2024 and 2025 NFL drafts, while the Browns will receive a 2025 sixth- and seventh-rounder in addition to Smith.
Smith has also reportedly agreed to a reworked contract that will pay him $11.75 million this season and make him a free agent next season. Smith was entering the second year of the first three-year, $42 million contract he signed with the Vikings last offseason.
The deal resolved an awkward situation in which Smith reportedly pleaded with the Vikings to release him and even posted a goodbye message to Vikings fans in March, but was told the team had no interest in letting him go.
Instead of being released, Smith now heads to Cleveland, where he figures with All-Pro Myles Garrett to form one of the NFL's top pass-rushing duos. The 30-year-old Smith made 44 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and five passes defensed in his only season at Minnesota.
The trade would send Smith back to the afc North, the division where he played the first four seasons of his career, with the baltimore ravens, who drafted him in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.