Za'Darius Smith had a brilliant start to the 2022 season with the Minnesota Vikings, but it was a different story for him in the second half of the campaign as his production slipped. Now, after being traded to the Cleveland Browns, he opened up about the sudden dip in his numbers and what really happened.

Apparently, Smith was bothered by the knee injury he sustained in Week 10. However, because of the weekly roster bonus in his Vikings contract, he played through the health issue. His coaches understood his situation well, which was the reason why his performance was limited in the last few games of the season.

“A lot of people didn't know it, my contract, I had it where I had to play every game to get my bonus. So in certain situations, coaches just telling me, ‘Give it all you can and then we'll just rest you from there.' So I wasn't as effective as I was at the beginning of the season, but I'm all healthy now, ready to go,” Smith explained while speaking to reporters recently, via the Browns' YouTube channel.

“I couldn't rest last year because every game I think I was making like $200,000 just to dress up. You would dress up, too, right? Exactly.”

Za'Darius Smith had 9.5 sacks through the first nine games of the 2022 season with the Vikings, which has allowed him to earn a Pro Bowl berth. However, he ended the year with just 10.0 sacks overall–which is just a 0.5 sack addition to his numbers.

Fortunately for the Browns, they don't have to worry about Smith's health. The 30-year-old defensive end emphasized that the offseason had given him the chance to heal and rehab. Hopefully, it stays the same throughout 2023.