Za’Darius Smith reportedly wants the Vikings to release him
By Adam Patrick
According to a report on Thursday, pass rusher Za’Darius Smith has asked the Minnesota Vikings to release him from his current contract with the team.
After just one season with the Minnesota Vikings, linebacker Za’Darius Smith has reportedly told the team that he wants to be released, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Thursday.
Future with Minnesota Vikings officially in doubt for Za’Darius Smith
Despite Rapoport revealing that the Vikings currently have “no plans” of releasing Smith this offseason, it’s something they should at least consider.
Cutting the veteran pass rusher would free up more than $12 million in cap space for Minnesota, who still needs to clear almost $16 million to get under the 2023 salary cap before the new league year begins next Wednesday.
Even though Smith led the team in pressures last season, cutting him seems like a pretty simple decision for the Vikings to make, especially if he already wants to play elsewhere.
The 30-year-old pass rusher appeared in 16 games for Minnesota during the 2022 season, finishing with 44 tackles (15 for a loss), 80 pressures, 10 sacks, five pass deflections, and one forced fumble.
Smith began the year on fire, with 9.5 of his 10 sacks coming in the team’s first nine games of the season. But then, for whatever reason, he was only able to generate 0.5 sacks in his other seven appearances.
If he remains with the Vikings, the veteran linebacker is currently scheduled to have a cap hit of $15.49 million for the 2023 season.