Longtime NFL veteran edge rusher Za’Darius Smith signed a new contract with the Minnesota Vikings. Smith, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, spent the 2021 season with the Green Bay Packers and has also played for the Baltimore Ravens.
Za’Darius Smith agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings, per source.
3 year deal
Base value of 42 million
Worth up to 47 million with incentives
14 million APY
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 22, 2022
Za’Darius Smith, Minnesota Vikings, Agree to Contract
Smith’s 2021 campaign ended before it ever truly began. The veteran edge rusher entered training camp with a back injury, forcing him to start the season on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list. While Smith was able to suit up in Week 1, he re-aggravated the back injury and landed on the season-ending injured reserve list after just 18 snaps. In total, he recorded one tackle and a roughing the passer penalty which offset a Darnell Savage interception.
The last time Smith saw any extended action, he still looked like one of the better edge rushers in the NFL. In 2020, the former fourth-round pick started all 16 games, recording 12.5 sacks, 52 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 23 quarterback hits, and four forced fumbles. He was a big reason the Packers made it all the way to the NFC Championship Game, and he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl for his impressive play.
Smith originally entered the league as a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Selected by the Baltimore Ravens, the Kentucky product began his career as a situational pass rusher. As a rookie, Smith appeared in 15 games, recording 5.5 sacks, 30 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and seven quarterback hits. His numbers took a bit of a dive over the next two seasons, as he recorded a combined 4.5 sacks, 25 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and 20 quarterback hits over the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Smith earned a bigger role during his final year with the Baltimore Ravens. In 2018, Smith recorded 8.5 sacks, 45 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 25 quarterback hits. The Green Bay Packers believed he could thrive in a larger role and signed him to a massive contract. Smith rewarded that faith with the best year of his career, recording 13.5 sacks, 55 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and 37 quarterback hits.
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