Grading Jonnu Smith’s deal with the New England Patriots: A-

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Mark Schofield
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Last year a hot topic of discussion around the New England Patriots was whether the team had enough weapons around quarterback Cam Newton.

Newton is back in the fold, having reached a one-year deal with the Patriots last week. Now, Bill Belichick has added a weapon. It comes in the form of tight end Jonnu Smith, who has reached a deal to join the Patriots and Cam Newton in Foxborough. The deal was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Smith is coming off his best season as a professional. Last year he caught 41 passes for 448 yards and eight touchdowns, all of which represent career-high numbers for him.

What makes Smith intriguing as an offensive weapon is the variety to his game. He can serve as both a move-type TE, aligning outside and even in a Y-iso alignment as a pseudo-X receiver, or in the more traditional in-line role. That variety makes him a matchup nightmare for defenses, and it plays out in the passing game. Particularly when you can see him line up next to the tackle and then attack over the middle:

Or you can see him align to the outside and make a great adjustment on a low throw in the end zone for a touchdown:

This is a great adjustment for a wide receiver to make, let alone a tight end.

Since losing Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots have struggled to get production out of the tight end position. That is what makes this deal a huge move for them. They drafted a pair of tight ends last season — Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene — but struggled to get any production out of the rookies. Given that it sometimes takes time for rookies to acclimate at the tight end position, Smith gives the Patriots a true option at that position in 2021. Plus, Josh McDaniels has shown an ability to maximize tight end production, and use those players wisely to create — and exploit — matchups.

This is a great signing for New England.