The Cleveland Browns have put together a solid all-around offseason and feel very good about their chances to compete in the AFC North during the upcoming 2023 NFL season. One of their most recent big moves was agreeing to acquire star pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith from the Minnesota Vikings.
Just a couple of short years ago, Smith was one of the most feared pass-rushers in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers. After a couple of years plagued by injury, his name has faded among the elite edge rushers in the game.
While he may not be talked about as an elite star anymore, there is no question that his skill-set is still intact. He simply needs to get and stay healthy. Thankfully, it appears things are heading in that direction.
Smith recently spoke to the media and revealed how he is doing from a health perspective.
“I couldn’t rest last year because every game I think I was making like $200,000 just to dress out,” Smith said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “You would dress out too . . . That was different for me. I had a chance to rest my knee, get some rehab. I trained with my trainer in Orlando and I’ve been out here working and I haven’t felt nothing. I feel perfectly fine.”
During the 2022 season with the Vikings, Smith ended up recording 44 total tackles to go along with 10 sacks, a forced fumble, and five defended passes. Those numbers certainly aren’t shabby and show why the Browns went out and acquired him.
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Should the Browns end up getting the pre-injury form of Smith, they will be getting a massive steal. Smith would be a big upgrade over Jadeveon Clowney, who is currently still a free agent.
Myles Garrett is one of the best pass-rushers in the game already and Za’Darius Smith can be when healthy. Cleveland could boast one of the NFL’s premier pass rushes in 2023. That should have fans very excited.
Expect to see Smith come out looking to prove that he’s still a legitimate star this season. He has been given a fresh start with the Browns and will do everything he can to make the most of it.