Aberdeen fear losing Smith back to Norwich
Smith spent the second half of last season on loan to the Dons and manager Brown is keen to take him back to Pittodrie.
But former Scotland boss Brown fears his hopes of signing the 25-year-old left-back have been dashed by City's new top-flight status.
"Smith has received a big rise in wages following Norwich's promotion from the Championship and he is obviously not going to leave without an inducement from Norwich," said Brown.
"His club is determined not to do that which means they will freeze the guy out for a year and hope to sicken him into leaving to play football again - but they won't succeed given the money Smith is now earning."