The Vikings are reportedly denying Pro Bowl LB Za’Darius Smith’s request for release, but he’s saying goodbye anyway

Za’Darius Smith bid farewell to Minnesota Vikings fans Thursday after a single successful season. There was only one problem.

The team, who still have him under contract, reportedly don’t want him to leave.

The snafu began when the Pro Bowl pass rusher tweeted his well wishes to the fan base in the afternoon. Anyone who follows the NFL will recognize the tweet as the player’s announcement that he was moving on, so it made sense that Smith knew he was about to become another victim of the NFL salary cap.

Per Over the Cap, Smith was still under contract for the next two seasons and owed him a $9.45 million base salary with more than $4.5 million in bonuses next season. His 2023 salary cap was approximately $15.5 million with $3.3 million in dead money if he were released, resulting in $12.2 million in savings upon his release.

Given the Vikings are currently around $15.8 million over the cap on the same site, the move would have made sense, although Smith was a huge asset to the 13-4 Vikings last season. Smith had 10 sacks, 44 total tackles and 15 tackles for loss, and earned Pro Bowl honors for the third time in his career.

However, ten minutes after Smith’s tweet, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that while Smith had requested his release, likely to strike a more lucrative deal, the Vikings were not interested in letting him go.

Regardless of how the situation unfolds, whether Smith stays with the Vikings, gets his release, or revises his current deal, it’s already an odd sight for a player who joined the Vikings under odd circumstances in the first place.

Last offseason, Smith was fired by the Green Bay Packers after missing much of 2021 with a back injury. He quickly struck a four-year, $35 million contract with his former team, the Baltimore Ravens, but later dropped out of the contract to sign a more lucrative one with the Vikings.

Smith can now make even more money coming into free hands after a strong comeback season. Unfortunately, this time he is actually under contract.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 1: Za'Darius Smith #55 of the Minnesota Vikings leaves the field after the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 1, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

According to reports, Za’Darius Smith wants to disappear from the Vikings. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) The Vikings are reportedly denying Pro Bowl LB Za’Darius Smith’s request for release, but he’s saying goodbye anyway

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