Browns agree to re-sign defensive linemen Za'Darius Smith and Maurice Hurst, AP sources say

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns have agreed to re-sign defensive end Za’Darius Smith and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, a person familiar with the contracts told The Associated Press on Monday.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the free agents have yet to sign the deals to remain in Cleveland. Both played significant roles on the Browns' defense, which allowed the fewest yards in the NFL, and retaining them was a priority for general manager Andrew Berry.

Smith, 31, made 16 starts and had 5 1/2 sacks and 27 tackles after joining the team in a May trade with Minnesota. The three-time Pro Bowl selection agreed to a two-year deal worth $23.5 million, keeping him on the opposite side of the line from AP Defensive Player of the Year Myles Garrett.

Hurst, 28, had 22 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games before suffering a season-ending pectoral tear in December. He joined the Browns as a free agent last spring and agreed to a one-year contract worth $3.2 million to return.

The Browns also added a player from outside the organization, agreeing to a two-year deal with linebacker Jordan Hicks. The nine-year veteran made 89 tackles in 13 games for Minnesota last season, and will help offset the losses of linebackers Anthony Walker Jr. (Dolphins) and Sione Takitaki (Patriots) in free agency.

Cleveland finished second in the AFC North with an 11-6 record and lost to Houston in the wild-card round.


AP Sports Writer Tom Withers contributed to this report.