2021 NFL Free Agency: Jonnu Smith Reaches 4-Year, $50 Million Deal with Patriots

2021 NFL Free Agency: Jonnu Smith Reaches 4-Year, $50 Million Deal with Patriots article feature image

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 27: Tight end Jonnu Smith #81 of the Tennessee Titans celebrates a touchdown reception against the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter at Lambeau Field on December 27, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Jonnu Smith has become the first major tight end free agency domino to fall.

The former Titans' tight end has agreed to a four-year, $50million contract — $31.25 million fully guaranteed — with the Patriots, agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN.

Smith was the team's "No. 1 pass catching target," according to NFL Network's Michael Giardi.

NFL insider Adam Schefter characterized the splashy deal as "atypical" for the Patriots, who have been more conservative players in the free agency space of late.

"Patriots TE Jonnu Smith's new deal has an APY of $12.5 million, which is the highest figure for a skill player in franchise history, topping Rob Gronkowski and Randy Moss (who both made around $9 million per on long-term deals)," The MMQB's Albert Breer writes.

Smith, 25, was the Titans' third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The FIU product was the team's No. 2 tight end behind Delanie Walker in his rookie season and was named the top tight end in 2018 after Walker was injured.

Smith is coming off of a strong 2020 season in which he caught 32 passes for 358 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns. He finished as TE9 in half PPR through Weeks 1 through 16.

The talented blocker will immediately become the team's No. 1 tight end, which has been a roster gap for the Patriots since Rob Gronkowski's departure. He joins Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo, Devin Asiasi and Quincy Adeboyejo on the New England tight end depth chart.

The much-needed addition should help quarterback Cam Newton's fantasy value, assuming Newton is the team's starter come Week 1.

Smith's departure from Tennessee leaves the Titans' TE room quite lean. Next up on their depth chart are Anthony Firsker, Geoff Swaim and MyCole Pruitt.

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