The Patriots and Falcons settled some business Monday morning before the start of the legal tampering window, as the Falcons agreed to acquire tight end Jonnu Smith for a seventh-round draft pick, according to a league official. league aware of the transaction.
Why did they move
The Patriots were quietly hoping to get out of the last half of Smith’s $50 million four-year contract, but it seemed impossible to release him due to cap constraints, which were a byproduct of last year’s restructuring. . The trade, however, lightened $4.4 million in cap space, while the Patriots absorbed $12.8 million in dead money. It wasn’t ideal, but it’s about as good as it was going to get.
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The Falcons reunited Smith, 27, with head coach Arthur Smith as the pair had been together during Jonnu Smith’s best seasons with the Titans from 2017-20. While Smith struggled to put together a production A consistent stat with the Patriots, he’s always been a worthy blocker, and he should help the Falcons open up more opportunities for rising star Kyle Pitts.
Commercial grade (Falcons): B-plus
The Falcons will restructure Smith’s contract, which has two years and $22.8 million remaining. Pending the final financial details, this rating could approach category A.
The tight veteran market is thin, and Smith likely offers the Falcons more upside than their other options. Smith caught 114 passes for 1,302 yards and 16 touchdowns in four seasons with Arthur Smith and the Titans; their last two seasons together have been far more productive than Smith’s time in New England.
And again, if Smith becomes more of a stepping stone for Pitts, that’s an even bigger win.
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Commercial Grade (Patriots): B-minus
Moving Smith seemed highly unlikely, so the Patriots are getting high marks for that element of the deal. We’ll see what happens with the draft pick, but the $4.4 million cap relief was an unexpected win.
Still, that doesn’t overshadow the Patriots’ signing smack, as they never got him going with the catch-and-run designs that were in the plans — and which Smith did so well in Tennessee. Smith had 55 catches for 539 yards and a touchdown in 30 games with the Patriots.
Smith was a strong offensive presence in his first offseason with the Patriots, but injuries and inconsistencies slowed progress, and he never performed the way the Patriots planned. of their 2021 offseason spending bonanza.
(Photo: Cooper Neill/Getty Images)