49ers Trade Barker, Smith to Browns
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) _ Defensive end Roy Barker and tight end Irv Smith, both key players for the San Francisco 49ers last season, were traded Friday to the Cleveland Browns for unspecified past considerations.
A source close to the team said the past considerations involved the Browns’ selection of cornerback Antonio Langham in Tuesday’s expansion draft, relieving the 49ers of a free-agent bust and a $3 million salary cap liability.
There have been reports that the Browns also are interested in trading for quarterback Ty Detmer, who spent last season backing up Steve Young and led the 49ers to a win over Carolina in his only start.
Detmer, a seven-year pro who spent two seasons in Philadelphia as a starter, is coveted by Cleveland because he could help tutor Tim Couch if the Browns take the Kentucky star with their first draft pick. He also could be used as a starter until Couch was ready to take over.
Detmer has a no-trade clause in his contract with the 49ers but the Browns have received permission to discuss a new deal for him.
Barker and Smith provide potential building blocks on both sides of the ball for the Browns and their departure gives San Francisco additional financial maneuverability.
The two were in danger of being released because of San Francisco’s cap constraints before being dealt to the Browns, who begin play later this year.
Barker has a ’99 cap figure of $2.5 million and Smith costs $1.2 million against the payroll.
Barker had 12 sacks last season, his third with San Francisco since joining the team as a free agent after spending his first four years with Minnesota.
Smith was signed prior to last season as a free agent. He was projected as a backup to Greg Clark but wound up starting eight games due to injuries to Clark. Smith, who played six years for New Orleans before joining the 49ers, had 24 catches for 259 yards and a career-high five touchdowns.