We finally have the numbers on the trade that sent outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith from the Minnesota Vikings to the Cleveland Browns, and despite the panic that set in on social media when it came out that the Vikings were going to pay a portion of Smith’s salary for the 2023 season, the numbers are pretty favorable for the Vikings after all.
In the reworked deal for Za'Darius Smith to facilitate the trade from Minnesota to Cleveland:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 16, 2023
- The Vikings eat $1.177M in the form of signing bonus
- The Browns adjust Smith's cap charge down to $3.032M in 2023
- Smith's upside in 2023 is up to almost $13M in cash
Per Field Yates of ESPN, the Vikings will pay a little less than $1.2 million to Smith this season in the form of his signing bonus. That’s a far cry from last season, when the Green Bay Packers paid Smith a little over $11 million to play for the Vikings after his release from Green Bay (and his subsequent turning down of a deal with the Baltimore Ravens).
When you factor in the pick upgrades that Kwesi received in 2024 and 2025 and the salary cap relief that the team receives this year, it looks like a pretty good deal on the surface for the Vikings, particularly for a guy that had pretty well said that he wasn’t interested in playing for the Vikings anymore.
The lesson here, as always, is that people should probably wait for the facts to come out before busting out the Jumping to Conclusions Mat and concluding that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is in over his head. He’s still got some mess to clean up from the previous regime and, honestly, he seems to be doing a solid job of getting that done.