After Mack Wilson went down in practice and needed to be carted off last week, the Browns immediately needed some help at the linebacker position. They addressed that need by signing former Super Bowl MVP, Malcolm Smith. In order to make room for Smith, the Browns waived center Casey Dunn and the Browns active roster is now at 80.
Malcolm Smith, a former 7th round pick, was one of the best Super Bowl MVP stories in NFL history. Going into Super Bowl XLVIII, Malcolm Smith was an unlikely candidate to win MVP. But after forcing 10 tackles, a fumble recovery and a pick-six off Peyton Manning, Smith was more than deserving for the award. In his career, he has played in 104 games and has started 52. During those games, he had 395 combined tackles, 295 of them being solo, four interceptions, three fumble recoveries and two touchdowns. When one throws in the Super Bowl MVP, that is a very good resume for a former 7th round pick. After four years in Seattle, Smith has bounced around teams. He had a two-year stint with the Raiders, then played for the 49ers in 2018 and for the Cowboys and Jaguars in 2019.
In Cleveland, Smith will provide a veteran presence in a relatively young linebacker room. Smith is now the most experienced linebacker on the Browns roster, moving ahead of recently acquired BJ Goodson, who is now entering his fifth season. Heading into his 9th NFL season, Smith is not quite the player he was in Seattle, but the 31-year-old can play all three linebacker spots, which will provide the quality depth that the Browns need. The Browns were already thin at linebacker before the Wilson injury, since they lost Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey this past offseason.
Mack Wilson’s hyperextended knee could have been a lot worse. Wilson and the Browns are hopeful for the best, as a timetable is unclear at this moment. If Wilson can avoid surgery, then according to CBS Sports he would be looking at a 6-8 week timetable, making a return during the 2020 season likely. The Browns would love to have the second-year linebacker from Alabama back late in the season, especially if the Browns are making a late playoff push. As a veteran who has bounced around teams, Smith should be able to pick up the Browns playbook quickly and play well enough until Wilson can return from injury. Accomplishing all of this while teaching the young linebackers on the roster a thing or two.