Michael RothsteinESPN staff writer2 minute reading
The Atlanta Falcons traded a 2023 seventh-round pick (No. 245) to the New England Patriots for tight end Jonu Smith, sources told ESPN on Monday, confirming multiple reports.
Smith signed with New England in 2021 after spending the first four years of his career with the Tennessee Titans, where now Falcons head coach Arthur Smith served as tight ends coach and then offensive coordinator.
Janu Smith signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Patriots in March 2021, with $31.25 million guaranteed. According to the Roster Management System, Smith has $17,228,529 in cap hits in 2023 and $18,405,000 in 2024 with New England.
Sources said Smith’s contract will be reworked as part of the deal.
But he didn’t find his groove in New England. In his first season with the team, he played in 16 games (11 starts) and totaled 28 receptions for 294 yards with one touchdown. Last season, he played in 14 games (8 starts) and had 27 catches for 245 yards and no touchdowns.
The Patriots have veteran running back Henry and Matt Sokol and tight end Scotty Washington, which makes them more desirable in the draft or free agency. Henry enters the final year of his contract in 2023. The move creates roughly $4.4 million in salary cap space for the Patriots.
Smith has played in 90 career games, starting 72 of them, and has 169 catches for 1,841 yards and 17 touchdowns. He had the best two years of his career with the Titans, including a 41-catch, 448-yard, eight-touchdown season in 2020. Tennessee.
Smith now becomes part of a tight end that includes 2021 first-round pick Kyle Pitts, who is out for the season in 2022 after knee surgery.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss contributed to this report.