Za’Darius Smith signs three-year deal with Vikings

OLB Za’Darius Smith has finally made up his mind as the free agent signed with the Minnesota Vikings, the team announced Tuesday.

Last week, Smith, who was released by the Packers on March 14 to clear cap space, reportedly agreed to sign with his former team, the Baltimore Ravens, but he backed out of the deal and ultimately decided to sign with the Vikings.

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, it’s a three-year deal worth $42 million.

Despite missing most of the 2021 season, the 29-year-old Smith, who spent the last three seasons with the Packers, is one of five players in the NFL who have posted at least 12.5 sacks in two of the last three seasons. 

The seven-year veteran tallied 26.0 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, and 60 quarterback hits from 2019-21. Smith earned Associated Press Second-Team All-Pro honors in 2020 after posting 12.5 sacks, becoming the first Packers linebacker to be named an All-Pro since Clay Matthews in 2012.

Smith is obviously going to help Minnesota, who last season was second in sacks. In 2021, DE D.J. Wonnum led Minnesota with 8.0 sacks.

Before joining the Packers, Smith played for the Baltimore Ravens (2015-18), posting 18.5 sacks, 24 tackles for loss and 52 quarterback hits.

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