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Smith heading south; will it help?

By Jared Smola | Updated on Thu, 13 Jul 2023, 2:27 PM EDT
Jonnu Smith Headshot

The Patriots are trading TE Jonnu Smith to the Falcons, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The move primarily looks like a salary dump for New England. Smith caught just 55 passes at 9.8 yards per reception across two seasons after signing a $50 million deal as a 2021 free agent. Atlanta might seem like an awkward fit for him as well, with TE Kyle Pitts already on hand. But the third-year Falcon is more receiver than TE. He has played just 21.8% and 25.6% of pass snaps from an inline position the past two years. Smith, meanwhile, has never run less than 52.6% from there. He was inline on 59.5% of routes last year and topped 64% in each of his first three NFL seasons. He spent those three years -- plus one more -- playing under current Falcons HC Arthur Smith. In Tennessee, Smith served as TEs coach over Smith's first two years, and then OC for the other two. Smith increased his receptions every season there but topped out with a 41-448-8 receiving line in 2020. It'll be similarly tough for Smith to find much fantasy value in Atlanta's run-heavy offense. And we're not downgrading Pitts' outlook for the short or long term on Smith's arrival. Check our dynasty rankings to see how optimistic we remain on Pitts. Smith's departure from New England, meanwhile, certainly can't hurt TE Hunter Henry's opportunities.

Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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