Despite Flop Show at Draft, Cleveland Browns Mid off Season Takes off After Defensive Beast Is Given “Away for Free”

Published 05/13/2023, 10:47 AM EDT

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The Cleveland Browns‘ mid-off-season takes off despite a flop show at the draft, thanks to the acquisition of a defensive beast. The Minnesota Vikings, known for their Friday news dumps, traded a defensive beast or linebacker to the Browns in exchange for late-round picks, which was essentially a salary dump. The news of Beast joining the Browns garnered mixed reactions from NFL followers.

Cleveland Browns acquired a talented linebacker from Minnesota Vikings along with 2025 sixth-round and seventh-round picks. In return, the Vikings agreed to upgrade those picks to a 2024 fifth-round pick and a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Vikings trade Za’Darius Smith to Browns


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The Vikings are sending Za’Darius Smith, a three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher, to the Cleveland Browns. According to sources Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, Za’Darius Smith’s reworked deal guarantees him $11.75 million in 2023, and he will become a free agent in the following March. The negotiation for this deal was handled by his new agent, Erik Burkhardt of Roc Nation Sports.


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This move freed up $12 million in cap space for the Vikings, who are confident in their edge players, including Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport, Patrick Jones II, and Andre Carter II, all showing great potential. The Vikings believe that they will make the roster and have high hopes. The trade between the Vikings and the Browns makes more sense in this context.


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The news of Za’Darius joining the Browns garnered mixed reactions from NFL followers. One Instagram user replied to Tom Pelissero’s post, wishing Cleveland luck and sarcastically stating that they won’t get much out of him. “Good luck getting 1/2 season out of him Cleveland! 😂”

Another person expressed disappointment, feeling that the Vikings gave him away for free- “We gave him away for free smh 🙄”


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Someone else mentioned Za’Darius’ underperformance in the previous season and claimed that the Vikings had one of the top three defenses- “He was more dud than stud last season and Vikings easily had a top 3 defense”

Browns gain an edge in trade

Last year, Za’Darius Smith joined the Vikings with a $42M deal, impressing early on with 9.5 sacks in the first nine games, after leaving the Green Bay Packers to prove himself. However, his performance declined drastically after week nine, with only half a sack from week 10 to week 17. He requested a trade in the offseason as the Vikings looked to get young guns.


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WATCH THIS STORY – Controversial NFL Star Deshaun Watson Takes Advantage of Off-Season by Joining America’s Favorite Pastime in Cleveland.

This trade greatly benefits the Browns, considering their limited ability to improve once DeShaun Watson’s salary cap hit takes effect. It’s a significant acquisition for the Browns that will undoubtedly enhance their defense. Can confidently give the Cleveland Browns an edge for this trade, as they have little to lose. On the other hand, the Minnesota Vikings are focused on rejuvenating their roster and becoming younger, and they successfully accomplished that goal.


Written by:

Mohammad Asif Ansari


One take at a time

Mohammad Asif Ansari is an NFL writer at EssentiallySports, with a passion for bringing sports news to life through engaging content. As an ardent sports fan, Ansari likes to cover core sports angles. His latest article, “Dallas Cowboys Reportedly Making It Difficult for Aaron Rodgers to Pursue His Dream Team” got a hoard of interested sports readers.
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Edited by:

Abigail Kevichusa