6 Browns Players Fans Will Be Sad to See Leave in Free Agency

The NFL is a tough business and while players know this, fans will still be sad to see these 6 Cleveland Browns head elsewhere in 2024
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
5 of 6

2. Za'Darius Smith, EDGE

Looking for another pass rusher to play opposite Myles Garrett, the Browns swung a trade for Za'Darius Smith this past offseason. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, Smith spent much of his career playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense but the Browns were more than confident he would thrive in their system.

Fresh off a 10-sack campaign with the Minnesota Vikings, he's also proven to be one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL when healthy. In fact, he had three seasons with at least 10 sacks over the past four years — the only exception being 2021 when he missed all but one game.

In Cleveland, he played well but the numbers simply weren't there. Smith finished with just 27 tackles and 5.5 sacks which was far less than he expected. He's also now set for free agency and at 31 years of age, he was hopeful to be trying to cash in following another strong campaign.

While he might not be able to break the bank completely, his 29 quarterback pressures will be enough to convince someone to pay him a decent amount — and it will likely be more than Cleveland will be able to afford. The good news for the Browns is that Alex Wright came on strong near the end of the year and should be ready for a larger workload but it still won't be easy to watch someone of Smith's caliber leave.