On Monday morning, reports surfaced that the Tennessee Titans weren’t planning to keep tight end Jonnu Smith in Nashville.
By midday, those reports were confirmed.
Smith reached an agreement on a four-year deal with the New England Patriots on Monday worth $50 million (including $31.25 million that’s fully guaranteed).
Former Titans’ TE Jonnu Smith reached agreement with the Patriots on a 4–year, $50 million deals that includes $31.25 million fully guaranteed, @DrewJRosenhaus told ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2021
That’s a lot of cash for a player who has 114 receptions and 1,302 yards over four seasons in the NFL.
But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Smith got that kind of money from the Patriots.
New England head coach Bill Belichick hasn’t been shy about his love for Smith in recent years.
“He’s just a really good tight end,” said Belichick in January 2020. “Can do a lot of things. Blocks well. Runs well. Is a good receiver. Played him at tailback, he looked pretty good back there. He’s a very athletic player. Hard to tackle. Catches the ball well.”
“[Smith is] great after the catch, probably the best in the league,” added Belichick. “I mean, I can’t imagine anyone better than him after the catch.”
That’s high praise for a player that is far from a household name. If Smith was available, there was no way that Belichick was going to let him go to another team.
Smith is incredibly athletic and hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. I’m not sure he’s worth the $50 million that New England will be paying him, but there’s certainly a possibility he could end up outplaying the contract he’s receiving.
It’s a gamble, but this is the type of move that’s paid off for Belichick and the Patriots in the past.
Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports