Browns new addition Za’Darius Smith has hopped over to a new conference and a new team, but he’s wasted no time in making new friends.
Za’Darius Smith has made his fair share of enemies in the NFC. After a tumultuous final season on the Green Bay Packers and his desire to force his way out of the Minnesota Vikings this offseason, he found his way onto the Cleveland Browns roster.
He’ll now enter his fifth year in the league in 2023 and start the next chapter of his career in the AFC North. It took a few burned bridges to get here, but Smith seems more happy to have made the move. The ends justified the means, he might say.
In an interview after the Browns’ OTA this week, Smith named one of the things he was looking forward to the most this season: working with Browns’ Sack Reaper, Myles Garrett.
Smith was all smiles when talking about his brief exchange with Garrett this summer:
"“He sent me a text message telling me that he can’t wait to get going and hopefully we could be the best duo in league. And I was telling him the D-line, we got to come up with a name for the room. So he was like, ‘All right, I’m going to get some shirts, we going to make it big.’ So that chemistry already I can tell is going to be great this year.”"
Browns’ Za’Darius Smith can’t wait to buddy up with Myles Garrett
Garrett racked up 16 sacks for a second consecutive time in 2022 and arguably poses as Cleveland’s most destructive defensive weapon.
The four-time Pro-Bowler has gone up against the best quarterbacks of the league including Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson, and heading into his seventh year in the league, he’ll have a new partner-in-crime to work with.
Smith hasn’t seen as much sack production as Garrett has in recent years but still remains a force to be reckoned with on the edge. His stints in Green Bay and Minnesota probably didn’t end as well as he would have liked, and at 30 years old and with a somewhat troubling injury history, he’s running out of chances for fresh starts.
In the AFC North, Smith will already have an enemy in the Baltimore Ravens, whom he spurned last offseason in search of a more lucrative contract. The target on his back couldn’t be bigger this year, but Smith has his sights set on the future. And with Garrett by his side, it’s going to be a bright future indeed.