The 2023 NFL schedule for the team was released last week on Thursday and the very next day we beefed up our defense. Vikings defensive end Za’ Darius Smith was traded to the Browns to compliment starter Myles Garrett on the other side of the line. It comes to me as a surprise because Smith signed a three-year contract with the Vikings for $42 million last spring.
Now, this will put Smith into the starting lineup instead of the newly gained Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. I still think he will get playing time because of his caliber of play, but with Smith now on the roster his on field time will be limited. Smith is coming off a somewhat strong season where he recorded 32 solo tackles, 10 sacks, and 12 assists. The only concern the team should think about is the injury Smith sustained, a chronic knee injury last season that affected his play.
The team also got two picks out of this trade for a sixth and seventh round for the 2025 draft. In return, the Vikings received a couple of fourth and fifth round picks for the 2024-25 draft. I think this is going to be the problem for the Browns for several years to come when filling out roster spots. The Deshaun Watson deal has hindered the team’s ability to restructure its lineup.
I think for the foreseeable future the team will have to either trade or release players to make these roster moves until they can finally use the draft again. I know I’m going off topic, but this relates to everything the team has done so far since the 2022 season ended. Will this strategy work for the next couple of years? I guess we will have to wait and see. I am going to need to be extra hydrated when training camp rolls around. It will be a long preseason for the team.