Ekuban, a first-round draft pick of Dallas in 1999, will get a
three-year deal from the Browns, said a league source, speaking on
the condition of anonymity.
The Browns did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Smith's agent, Leigh Steinberg, said the deal includes a $1.1
million signing bonus.
Cleveland didn't have a true fullback for much of last season,
relying on tight ends to block for its backs in running situations.
Smith will handle those duties now.
"He's a unique weapon," Steinberg said. "He's as devastating
a blocker as there is in the NFL and he's excited about the chance
to block for William Green and others in Cleveland."
The 6-foot, 246-pound Smith also made a free-agent visit to
The 27-year-old Ekuban didn't live up to expectations during
five seasons with the Cowboys. He will give the Browns added depth
on their defensive line and an insurance policy in case Courtney
Brown continues to be slowed by injuries.
Brown had surgery on his right knee last month, and had
microfracture surgery on his left knee last year.
Ekuban is familiar with the Browns' system. He played for
Cleveland defensive coordinator Dave Campo and line coach Andre
Patterson while he was with the Cowboys.
Ekuban started 15 games last season, getting three sacks. Billed
as a speed rusher when he came into the league, Ekuban has just 13
sacks in five years.
In 2002, he was one of just five starting defensive ends in the
NFL with one or no sacks.
The 6-foot-3 265-pounder underachieved for Cowboys coach Bill Parcells last season, and was deactivated for a Dec. 7 game against
The benching was a clear sign Ekuban wasn't in Dallas' plans for
2004. He didn't know he wasn't playing against the Eagles until
shortly before kickoff, and he later said the situation was
"handled in a very classless manner."
After playing all 16 games as a rookie in 1999, Ekuban led the
Cowboys with 6½ sacks in 2000 despite playing primarily as a
reserve and missing four games with a toe injury.
Ekuban started the 2001 opener, but played only in the first
half against Tampa Bay before a herniated disc in his back required
surgery and forced him to miss the rest of the year.