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Notes: Za’Darius Smith trade becomes official

The trade with the Vikings for defensive end Za’Darius Smith, agreed to Friday, became official Tuesday.

“Hey, Cleveland, this is Za’Darius Smith,” he said on a short video tweeted by the team. “Man, I’m so happy to be a Brown, can’t wait to get started. Rule No. 1, the first thing we got to do is take the division. After that we’re going to go to the playoffs, baby.”

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The Browns received Smith (6-foot-4, 272 pounds) and sixth- and seventh-round draft picks in 2025. The Vikings got fifth-round picks in 2024 and ’25.


Minnesota made the move to clear salary cap space. It agreed to pay $1.177 million of Smith’s contract, according to ESPN.

Smith could make up to $13 million with incentives this year, but the Browns adjusted the structure of the contract so the salary cap charge is $3.032 million this year, per ESPN. He’ll become a free agent after the season.

Browns agree to trade for pass rusher Za’Darius Smith

Smith is a three-time Pro Bowler, including in 2022, when he had 10 sacks. In eight years and 107 games, he has 271 tackles, 54.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. His 44.5 sacks since 2018 rank tied for 10th in the NFL, despite appearing in just one game in 2021 due to a back injury.


The Browns added to the deep cornerback group, signing Chris Westry.

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He’s 6-4, 200 pounds and officially in his second season. He was undrafted out of the University of Kentucky in 2019 and signed with the Cowboys.

He’s appeared in eight games with two starts. He saw his most action in 2021 with the Ravens, when he played in six games and made 15 tackles with three passes defensed.


Receiver Cedric Tillman, who was Cleveland’s first pick of the draft at No. 74 in the third round, signed his four-year rookie contract.

Tackle Dawand Jones, a fourth-round pick, is the only member of the seven-man draft class who remains unsigned.

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Tillman started 21 of 44 games at the University of Tennessee, catching 109 passes for 1,622 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.


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