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Browns signing former Bengals DE Chris Smith in free agency

The Bengals suddenly have a need at defensive end with the loss of Smith.

Cincinnati Bengals vs Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals are losing Chris Smith to the Cleveland Browns.

According to NFL Network/FOX Sports reporter Peter Schrager, Smith is expected to sign a three-year deal with Cleveland. Tom Pelissero adds that it’s a three-year deal for $14 million.

That’s a pretty good deal for Smith since he’s already agreeing to sign and not waiting to see what other teams — like the Bengals — offer.

Smith, who will be a fifth-year NFL player in 2018, was acquired in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2017 offseason. The Bengals gave up a 2018 seventh-round pick for him, and he went on to give the Bengals quality snaps as a backup defensive end and tackle last season.

Appearing in all 16 games, Smith recorded 17 total tackles, three sacks, two pass deflections and one forced fumble. He did so while often playing behind Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson and Jordan Willis at defensive end.

But Smith would also get snaps at defensive tackle on passing downs, which helped make him a valuable member of this defense. Losing him isn’t a big loss, but it is enough that the Bengals should look to add another defensive end in the NFL Draft.

After the Bengals gave up a seventh-round pick to get Smith in 2017, the deal he’s signing could net the Bengals a sixth or seventh-round compensatory pick in 2019. Not a bad tradeoff for the Bengals, who got one good season out of Smith and should ultimately get a pick back for him.