According to NFL Network's Ian Rapport, the Patriots are sending tight end Jonnu Smith to the Falcons in return for a 2023 seventh-round pick. The move will reunite Smith with his former offensive coordinator in Tennesee, Arthur Smith, who is now Atlanta's head coach. In 60 games with the Titans, Smith had 114 catches and 16 receiving touchdowns over the course of four seasons, while also joining him with top target Kyle Pitts, one of the most exciting young tight ends in the game.
Smith could not replicate that production in two seasons with the Patriots, producing just 55 catches and a single touchdown after signing a four-year deal during the 2021 offseason. With the trade, the move is expected to open up approximately $4 million in additional cap space as the Patriots get some extra room to operate with once free agency officially opens on Wednesday.
With Hunter Henry still under contract, along with depth options Matt Sokol and Scotty Washington, the tight end group isn't barren without Smith. With an intriguing draft class at the position, they could still make an impact addition at the spot, as Henry enters the final year of his free agent contract that he signed shortly after Smith agreed to join New England.
In my latest mock draft I grabbed Michigan's Luke Schoomaker, while Lazar took Sam LaPorta, two promising prospects that could check a lot of boxes with the Patriots.
The Patriots now round out their 2023 draft picks by adding a seventh-rounder, which they did not have. The Falcons' selection would give New England 11 selections overall.
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