Tuesday's NFL: Vikings agree to 3-year, $42M deal with OLB Za'Darius Smith

Associated Press

Minneapolis — The Minnesota Vikings and free agent outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith agreed to terms on a three-year, $42 million contract on Tuesday, giving the team a pass-rushing boost from a player recently let go by their biggest rival.

Smith, who spent the last three seasons with the Green Bay Packers, has incentives to earn up to $47 million over the life of the deal. The 29-year-old Smith was a Pro Bowl pick in 2019 and 2020 with a combined 26 sacks in 32 games, but he had a major back injury last season and appeared in only one game for the NFC North champions.

FILE - Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith (55) plays against the Detroit Lions during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Dec. 13, 2020.

The Packers released Smith last week. He reached an agreement to return to his original team, the Baltimore Ravens, according to multiple reports, but that contract fell through.

With defensive end Danielle Hunter returning after a torn pectoral muscle limited him to seven games in 2021, the Vikings have a pair of proven pass-rushers to lean on in the attempt to prop up a defense that has lagged badly over the last two years. Assistant head coach Mike Pettine was Smith's defensive coordinator with the Packers in 2019 and 2020.

OL Terron Armstead says he's signing with Miami Dolphins

Miami Gardens, Fla. — Terron Armstead has become the Miami Dolphins' latest big free agent move, announcing Tuesday night that he's joining the team after spending his first nine NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints.

Armstead instantly becomes the presumed starter at left tackle for the Dolphins, whose offensive line struggled at times last season. His decision came one day after visiting Miami, then leaving without a deal completed.

A person with knowledge of the agreement said Armstead will sign a five-year deal worth nearly $75 million, with about $44 million guaranteed. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither Armstead nor the team revealed those terms publicly.

“I'll be taking my talents to South Beach," Armstead said in a video posted to his social media platforms Tuesday night, using the same line LeBron James used in 2010 when he announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. “Miami, what's up?"

Armstead is a three-time Pro Bowl selection — 2018, 2019 and 2020 — but was limited to eight games for the Saints last season while dealing with a knee injury and COVID-19-related issues.

Armstead joins a free agency haul by Miami that includes another offensive lineman in former Dallas guard Connor Williams — who spoke earlier this week about how excited he is to join the zone-blocking scheme that new Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel will employ.

“O-line is a special game," Williams said. “It’s all about camaraderie, it’s all about trusting the guy to the left and to the right of you. You’re never just as good as your best player. You’re as good as the whole line’s strength all together. That’s the most beautiful part about it and I think that’s the most exciting part of the game, just being able to build that together — the chemistry together.”

Extra points

... The Buffalo Bills restocked their veteran depth at receiver by signing Jamison Crowder to a one-year contract on Tuesday.

... Former Georgia football star Lorenzo Carter is returning home to play for the Atlanta Falcons.