Michael RothsteinESPN staff writer2 minutes to read
The Atlanta Falcons traded a 2023 seventh-round pick (245th pick) to the New England Patriots for tight end Jono Smith, sources told ESPN 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 Falcons’ now head coach Arthur Smith was the team’s tight ends coach and then offensive coordinator.
Jono Smith had signed a four-year, $50 million contract extension with the Patriots in March of 2021, which included $31.25 million guaranteed. According to the roster management system, Smith capped $17,228,529 in 2023 and $18,405,000 in 2024 with New England.
Sources said Smith’s contract would be reworked as part of the deal.
But he never found 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 1 touchdown. Last season, he played in 14 games (8 starts) and caught 27 catches for 245 yards and no touchdowns.
The Patriots have veteran Hunter Henry and development prospects Matt Sokol and Scotty Washington at tight end, which becomes a greater need for them in the draft or free agency. Henry enters the final year of his contract in 2023. The move creates about $4.4 million in Patriots salary cap space.
Smith played in 90 career games, starting 72, with 169 catches for 1,841 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s been particularly productive with the Titans, having the best two years of his career, including a 41-catch season, 448 yards, eight touchdowns in 2020. He could be in line in a similar role at Atlanta as he was at Tennessee.
Smith is now part of a tight end room that includes 2021 first-round pick Kyle Bates, who will be coming off season-ending knee surgery in 2022.
ESPN’s Mike Reese contributed to this report.
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