The Cleveland Browns have made a big move ahead of the 2022 NFL season, trading for three-time Pro Bowler Za’Darius Smith from the Green Bay Packers.
Smith, who played for the Packers for the past three seasons, has established himself as one of the best defensive players in the league. He recorded 60 tackles and 12.5 sacks in 2021, earning his third Pro Bowl nod and helping Green Bay reach the NFC Championship Game.
The Browns are hoping that Smith can bring a similar level of production to their defense, which struggled at times last season despite the team’s playoff appearance. The addition of Smith gives Cleveland a dominant pass-rusher who can wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks and disrupt their offensive game plans.
In exchange for Smith, the Browns sent a package of draft picks and players to Green Bay. While it’s always tough to part with assets, Cleveland clearly believes that Smith is worth the investment given his track record of success in the league.
Of course, the Browns aren’t the only team that has high expectations for Smith this season. The Packers are likely disappointed to see him leave, as he was an integral part of their defense and played a key role in their recent playoff runs.
That being said, Smith could prove to be a great fit in Cleveland’s defensive scheme. The Browns run a 4-3 defense that emphasizes aggressive pass-rushing and disruption at the line of scrimmage, which plays to Smith’s strengths as a player.
Given his history of Pro Bowl-caliber play, it’s fair to say that the Browns are taking a calculated risk in trading for Smith. However, if he can continue to produce at the level he has in recent years, then Cleveland could very well have one of the best defenses in the league next season.
Overall, the Browns’ trade for Za’Darius Smith is a bold move that could pay off big time for the team. With a dominant pass-rusher in tow, Cleveland’s defense should be able to generate plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and help the team make a deep playoff run in 2022.