The Cleveland Browns released veteran defensive end Chris Smith on Tuesday.
While there has been no official confirmation from the team, cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot was the first to report the news:
The #Browns have released DE Chris Smith, a league source tells me— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) December 3, 2019
Smith was a member of general manager John Dorsey’s first free agency class in 2018. The sixth-year veteran was a fifth-round draft choice by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014 and spent three seasons with Jacksonville before being traded to the Cincinnati Bengals. Smith spent the 2017 season in Cincinnati before signing with the Browns.
He made two starts in 2018 with the Browns, but did appear in all 16 games, finishing with 21 tackles and a sack.
This season has been a different story, however, as Smith has played in just nine games and been mostly ineffective when on the field as he has one tackle and no sacks.
Pass-rush grades for #Browns edge defenders to-date (Gustin and Cox each have fewer than 70 snaps):— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) December 3, 2019
Smith (49.6) https://t.co/KR6v4ZKXmm
It is a little bit of a surprising move from the Browns given that they are lacking any quality at the defensive end position with Myles Garrett serving an indefinite suspension, and Olivier Vernon dealing with a knee injury that kept him out of three games and limited him to just 12 plays on Sunday against the Steelers.
Given that Smith’s playing time has decreased in recent weeks and that he was inactive for the game against Pittsburgh, the Browns are clearly comfortable with the players they have on hand.
It has been a trying season for Smith off the field as he has been dealing with the death of his girlfriend, Petara Cordero, who was struck and killed by a car on a Cleveland highway in September.