Browns reach agreement to re-sign Malcolm Smith to one-year contract
Most of the 16 Browns players who became unrestricted free agents this week won't return to the team, but former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith will be back.
Smith reached an agreement Wednesday to re-sign with the Browns on a one-year deal after he became their best coverage linebacker in 2020, a person familiar with the situation confirmed. Financial terms were not immediately disclosed.
The 31-year-old Smith signed with the Browns on Aug. 23 after linebacker Mack Wilson had suffered a hyperextended knee five days earlier during a training camp practice.
Smith appeared in 17 of the Browns' 18 games last season, including two in the playoffs. He logged 51.9% of the defensive snaps and finished the regular season ranked second on the team with 72 tackles, including a sack, to go along with one interception, two passes defensed and a forced fumble.
Smith finished 15th among the 83 linebackers ProFootballFocus.com graded in 2020. Sione Takitaki, a third-round pick of the Browns in 2019, ranked 16th.
B.J. Goodson finished 21st. Goodson is an unrestricted free agent after he and Smith joined the Browns last year on one-year, prove-it deals. Goodson led the linebackers with 78.6% of the defensive snaps and tallied a team-high 91 tackles.
Wilson, a 2019 fifth-round pick, placed 72nd in PFF's grades.
Smith entered the NFL in 2011, when the Seattle Seahawks chose him in the seventh round out of the University of Southern California. He ended the 2013 season by posting 10 tackles, one fumble recovery and a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Seahawks’ 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. With the effort, he earned Super Bowl MVP, a trophy displayed in his home office and a label often attached to his name.
Backup linebacker Tae Davis and backup cornerback Tavierre Thomas agreed to terms with the Houston Texans on Wednesday after the Browns declined to tender them as restricted free agents. Agent David Canter announced on Twitter that Davis had a deal in place, and NFL Network reported Thomas reached an agreement on a two-year contract.
In 2020, Thomas finished second among Browns players with 11 tackles on special teams. Davis ranked fourth on the club with seven special-teams tackles.
Three former Browns players who became unrestricted free agents have struck deals with other teams. They are starting cornerback Terrance Mitchell (Texans), backup defensive tackle Vincent Taylor (Texans) and backup offensive tackle Kendall Lamm (Tennessee Titans).
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