Former Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith is signing with the Baltimore Ravens

Kassidy Hill
Packers News
View Comments
Packers outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith was a salary-cap casualty in Green Bay.

GREEN BAY - Former Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith has found a familiar destination for his new home by rejoining the Baltimore Ravens.

The veteran pass rusher was released by the Packers ahead of the new league year, which began at 3 p.m. CDT Wednesday. According to the NFL Network, Smith’s new deal is for four years and $35 million. 

Smith played in only two games for the Packers during the 2021 season: the season opener against the New Orleans Saints and the Packers' playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. A back injury suffered during training camp limited Smith’s playing time. 

During his three seasons (37 games) with the Packers, Smith accumulated 121 tackles, 30 sacks and five forced fumbles. He was named to the Pro Bowl twice (2019-20), earned second-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press (2020) and was named to the All-NFC team by the Pro Football Writers of America (2020).

Facing a precarious salary-cap situation, the Packers elected to move forward without Smith.

“We want to thank Za’Darius for his contributions to the Packers over the past three seasons,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “He came in and made an immediate impact on this football team, helping the team win three straight division titles. We want to wish Za’Darius and his family all the best moving forward.”

Now heading into his eighth year in the league, Smith returns to Baltimore, the club that originally drafted the Kentucky product in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL draft. 

SILVERSTEIN COLUMN:Aaron Rodgers' costly contract gives Packers three-year Super Bowl window

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS:De'Vondre Campbell deal fills a big piece of the Packers' offseason puzzle

View Comments