The Cincinnati Bengals made it clear that they wanted to re-sign defensive end, Chris Smith, this offseason but Cleveland beat them to it.
News broke Tuesday afternoon that the Cincinnati Bengals would be losing their unrestricted free agent defensive end, Chris Smith. After being acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars last offseason for a conditional draft pick, Smith spent one year with the Bengals totaling 26 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. The Bengals were interested in bringing him back on a new deal in 2018 but it seems the Cleveland Browns beat them to it.
Smith is reported to sign a three-year deal with the Browns worth $14 million when the free agency period opens on Wednesday afternoon. In his first season getting actual snaps with the Bengals, Smith showed some pass rush skills in former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s defense. Including being able to move inside at defensive tackle in a pinch last season. The former fifth-round pick by the Jaguars will join a group of newly acquired pieces by the Browns.
The Browns have been aggressive under new GM John Dorsey, former Kansas City Chiefs GM. They have brought in pieces like quarterback Tyrod Taylor, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and cornerback Damarious Randall already while trading away last years rookie quarterback selection DeShone Kizer. Cleveland still holds a great deal of draft capital including the number 1 and 4 overall picks in the upcoming draft. They also have one of the largest cap space amounts this offseason to bring in veteran pieces.
The Bengals lost a developmental talent that proved versatile along their offensive line. They still hold 11 draft picks in the upcoming draft and it allows guys like Carl Lawson more quality snaps in 2018. Cincinnati can still bring in a rookie defensive lineman for depth to replace Smith as a depth lineman in the long term for cheaper.