BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots have addressed the team’s need at tight end, reportedly convincing free agent Jonnu Smith to join the team.
Smith’s deal with New England is reportedly for four years and $50 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That includes $31.25 million in guaranteed money. The move cannot become official until NFL free agency officially opens Wedneday afternoon.READ MORE: Red Sox Game Vs. White Sox Postponed Due To 'Winterlike Conditions'
The 25-year-old is coming off a career year for the Tennessee Titans, setting career-highs with 41 receptions, 448 receiving yards and nine touchdowns (eight receiving, one rushing) in 2020. A third-round pick by Tennessee in 2017, Smith has 114 receptions on 169 targets for 1,302 yards and 16 touchdowns over his four-year NFL career.
The 6-foot-3, 248-pound Smith will give New England a legit target in the red zone, an area the team struggled in throughout the 2020 season. Smith caught 10 of the 17 red zone passes that went his way in 2020, and all eight of his receiving touchdowns last season came when the Titans were inside the 20.READ MORE: Tom Brady Jokes That His NFL Career Can Now Legally Drink Alcohol
He’s been relatively healthy since coming into the NFL from Florida International, with Smith missing just four games over his four NFL seasons. He appeared in 15 games in 2020, playing 69 percent of Tennessee’s offensive snaps.
In six career playoff games for Tennessee, Smith caught 11 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown, which came in the Titans’ surprising AFC Divisional Round win over the Baltimore Ravens in 2019.
Smith will now join second-year tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene on the New England depth chart. The Patriots barely got any production out of the tight end position in 2020, with Ryan Izzo, Asiasi and Keene amassing just 18 receptions on 32 targets and one touchdowns (by Asiasi). Izzo led the group with 13 receptions for 199 yards over 12 games.MORE NEWS: J.C. Jackson Signs Tender To Stay With Patriots
The Patriots have not had much production from the tight end position since Rob Gronkowski retired after the 2018 season, but adding Smith to the roster should change that in 2021.