The Patriots spent big on tight end Jonnu Smith, hoping the new signing will prove to be a spark at a position that has been a big void since Rob Gronkowski left.
The former Tennessee Titan inked a massive $50M deal with $31.25M dollars guaranteed. Smith had a breakout season in 2020. He racked up 41 catches for 448 yards, both of which were career highs. Jonnu Smith caught 8 touchdowns, and, although uncharacteristic for tight ends, also ran for a score as well.
Former Titans’ TE Jonnu Smith reached an agreement with the Patriots on a 4–year, $50 million deal that includes $31.25 million fully guaranteed, agent Drew Rosenhaus told @adamschefter. pic.twitter.com/rNEwiBgrcA
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 15, 2021
What this deal means for the Patriots..
For a team that was ranked 24th in red zone efficiency, adding Jonnu Smith to the roster will be a huge gain for the Patriots. Jonnu may not be the greatest receiving threat, but at 6’3” 250 pounds, he will be a tough man to bring down at the goal line. The Patriots have had the lowest pass catching production from tight ends across all teams the past couple of seasons, and Jonnu Smith will definitely help turn that around.
Jonnu Smith is also a good blocker and helped Derrick Henry win his second rushing title in as many seasons. His blocking ability will also prove to be a huge boon with former second team all-pro guard Joe Thuney on his way to Kansas City. According to front office personnel, Smith was viewed as the better all-round tight end, with fellow free agent tight end Hunter Henry being considered the more productive receiver.
— NFL (@NFL) March 15, 2021
Will the deal prove to be beneficial to the Patriots?
Bill Belichick made a substantial investment in Smith who cashed in to become one of the highest paid tight ends in the league. Skip Bayless was critical of Belichick though. The Patriots GM drafted 2 tight ends in the previous draft but then invested so heavily in a free agent tight end the very next offseason. Skip was quick to point the 6 time Super Bowl winning Coach and GM’s draft mistakes…
Belichick finally paid real $ for a free-agent TE, Jonu Smith. Does that mean he’s admitting mistakes on the two he drafted last year? Kraft chose to keep the wrong guy.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) March 15, 2021
Here’s what Bill Belichick said about Jonnu Smith before the Patriots played the Titans in the 2019 Wild Card. “He can do a lot of things; blocks well, runs well, is a good receiver.” pic.twitter.com/DyFKviT1os
— Matt Dolloff (@mattdolloff) March 15, 2021
Jonnu Smith has made steady improvements in his first 4 seasons. His current production may not warrant such a hefty contract, but his potential does, and he should aid the Patriots in the ways he was brought in for. The Patriots will certainly hope Jonnu Smith’s potential pays off with Smith being one of the Patriots bigger free agency signings over the past decade.