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Falcons acquire Patriots TE Jonnu Smith for 2023 7th round pick

The Falcons pick up a once-terrific tight end for a song.

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Arthur Smith is getting a familiar face back, as the Falcons are trading a seventh round pick in 2023 for Patriots tight end (and, naturally, former Tennessee Titan) Jonnu Smith.

The reunion of the two Smiths is an intriguing one, given that Jonnu’s best years in the NFL came with Arthur at the helm of the Titans offense. From 2019 to 2020, Jonnu Smith was targeted 109 times and came up with 76 catches for 887 yards and 11 touchdowns, proving to be a consistently useful pass-catching threat for Tennessee. He’ll hope to re-capture the magic entering his age 28 season in Atlanta.

Smith’s past two years have been quiet ones, as he has caught just 55 combined passes for 539 yards and a single touchdown in a moribund Patriots offense. A solid blocker, Smith fits nicely into this offense as the second tight end, providing some pass catching chops and blocking acumen that means (if all goes well) that he can jump on the field in place of either catch-first option Kyle Pitts or block-first option Parker Hesse. If he doesn’t work out, hey, the Falcons gave up a seventh round pick they were unlikely to even use in the first place, so very little harm and very little foul.

If he recaptures his form, however, the Falcons will be adding a legitimate asset to the offense. Smith thrived in the red zone in Tennessee, and adding him provides yet another scoring option with some size and quality hands for Desmond Ridder (or whoever is under center) in 2023. This also sets the Falcons up with a quality depth chart at tight end that could be further enhanced if they re-sign MyCole Pruitt as their fourth optiong, but since that would require abandoning the Feleipe Franks dream, I’m not sure we’ll see it.

We’ll get further details soon, but it also sounds like the team will re-work Smith’s deal, likely to minimize his cap hit in this crucial season.

Give Smith a warm welcome, and let’s hope he can re-capture some of his early career magic with the Atlanta Falcons.