LB Malcolm Smith returning to Browns after bounceback 2020 season

Veteran finished 2nd on the team with 72 tackles


By Andrew Gribble, Senior Staff Writer


The Browns are bringing back veteran LB Malcolm Smith, who emerged as one of the team’s most reliable tacklers and leaders on the 2020 defense.

Smith, who finished second on the team in tackles last season, is set to play his 10th NFL season in Cleveland after agreeing to terms on a new contract.

Smith made an immediate impact in a short amount of time when he joined the Browns midway through training camp last season. What followed was one of Smith’s most productive seasons, as he played a key role as both a veteran leader in Cleveland’s young linebackers room and a reliable playmaker on the Browns’ opportunistic defense.

Smith finished second on the team with 72 tackles to go along with a key interception Week 3 against Washington, a sack and a forced fumble. Smith appeared in 15 games and was second in snaps played among the team’s linebackers. He was the NFL’s 11th-best linebacker in pass coverage, according to Pro Football Focus.

Smith began his career in Seattle, where he rose from a seventh-round pick in 2011 to the MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII. The 10-year veteran has also spent time with the Raiders, 49ers, Raiders, Cowboys and Jaguars.

For his career, Smith has appeared in 117 games and registered 466 tackles, seven sacks and five interceptions.

Smith returns to a Browns linebackers room that will feature a young core of Sione Takitaki and Mack Wilson — both of whom are entering their third NFL seasons — and Jacob Phillips, a third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Cleveland’s leading tackler from 2020, B.J. Goodson, is a free agent.