The Cleveland Browns have reportedly agreed to terms with their first free agent in 2018. They are expected to sign former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Chris Smith to a three-year deal, per FOX Sports’ Peter Schrager.
The deal is worth $14 million with $7 million guaranteed, per Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
In 2017, Smith, 26, mustered more quarterback pressures as a Bengals rotational player than any Browns player was able to record, per Bleacher Report’s Ryan McCrystal.
Adding the young pass-rusher on the upswing of his career makes perfect sense as Gregg Williams’ defense prepares to hopefully make significant strides in the quarterback disruption department next season. And adding Smith to the mix helps bolster an already young and promising defensive front that’s highlighted by former No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett.
Chris Smith, a versatile down lineman. Played DE with Jaguars and Bengals. Moved to DT for the Bengals when needed last year in a pinch. Played well. Joins Cleveland defensive front.— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) March 13, 2018
As Schrager noted, Smith’s versatility helped the Bengals last season when they needed bodies at defensive tackle. His ability to create interior pressure will be important as Williams moves him around situationally to maximize his talents.
The Browns probably aren’t done adding disruptors to their defensive line, but signing Smith’s a good start for new general manager John Dorsey.