Sources: Vikes sign OLB Smith to 3 years

Outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith has agreed to terms of a three-year, $42 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings, sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Adam Schefter on Thursday.

The deal may be worth up to $47 million if he gets the incentives, sources told ESPN.

The Vikings announced Tuesday that they have reached a three-year deal with Smith but did not disclose financial terms.

Last week, Smith pulled out of a deal with the Baltimore Ravens when he opted not to sign a four-year, $35 million deal. His decision paid off financially as his new deal with the Vikings will average $14 million per season compared to the $8.75 average the Ravens would have paid him.

A source told ESPN’s Jamison Hensley last week that the Ravens believed they had reached a verbal agreement on a deal for Smith, but several hours later he expressed doubt after lucrative deals with two pass rushers were announced. quarterbacks): Von Miller (six years, $120 million for an average of $20 million per season) with the Buffalo Bills and Chandler Jones (three years, $51 million for an average of $17 million per season) with the Las Vegas Raiders. The Ravens tried to renegotiate the contract, but the parties were unable to reach an agreement, the source added.

With defensive end Danielle Hunter returning after a torn pectoral muscle that limited him to seven games last season, the Vikings will have a couple of proven pass rushers to rely on. Vikings assistant coach Mike Pettine was Smith’s defensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers in 2019 and 2020.

The Packers released Smith on March 14 as part of a series of moves to create cap space.

Smith, who was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons with the Packers (2019 and 2020) and was a second-team All-Pro in 2020, served just 18 aces in the 2021 regular season. It all came in the game. inaugural before he had back surgery. He didn’t return until the NFC championship game in the playoffs, a loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Last offseason, Smith made attempts to secure a contract extension with the Packers, including switching agents in May. However, he dealt with a back injury that sidelined him from preseason practices and most of training camp.

Smith was the highest-priced free agent ever signed by general manager Brian Gutekunst, who gave him a four-year, $66 million deal. He rose to the occasion early, posting the most sacks total (26) by a player in his first two seasons with the Packers. He was one of only three players in the NFL with 12 or more sacks in 2019 and 2020, joining Aaron Donald and TJ Watt.

Smith, 29, has 44.5 sacks in seven NFL seasons. He entered the NFL as a fourth round pick with the Ravens in 2015.

ESPN’s Rob Demovsky and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sources: Vikes sign OLB Smith to 3 years