One of the NFL’s top pass-rushers reportedly has asked his team to release him.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Minnesota Vikings edge rusher Za’Darius Smith has asked to be released.
On Thursday, Smith tweeted, “I just want to say “Thank you!” to Skol Nation for an amazing season & experience! Thank you to all of my Teammates, Coaches & the entire Minnesota Vikings Organization!”
Rapoport then quote-tweeted that with, “Vikings Pro Bowl pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith informed the team that he wants to be released, I’m told.”
“The team has no plans to do that. The situation remains unresolved,” Rapoport added.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2023
So, Smith wants out of Minnesota, but general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and the Vikings are unwilling to release him at the moment.
The Vikings — who are currently $15.8 million over the cap — can save $12.1 million in 2023 by cutting Smith, who has a $15.4 million cap number.
Smith, 30, has recorded double-digit sacks in three of his last four seasons (he didn’t in 2021, when he only played one game due a back injury).
In 2022, Smith had 10 sacks and 24 quarterback hits. He was selected to the Pro Bowl for the third time and named a second-team All-Pro. In October, he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month.
After spending 2019-21 with the NFC North rival Green Bay Packers, Smith signed a three-year, $42 million contract with the Vikings ahead of the 2022 season. Minnesota went on to win the division with a 13-4 record.
Smith won’t have a shortage of suitors if he hits the open market.