Patriots

Jonnu Smith to sign with Pats on four-year, $50M deal

Patriots

The New England Patriots are set to land their first quality free agent of the 2021 offseason.

Tight end Jonnu Smith has agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract with the Patriots that includes $31.25 million in guaranteed money, Smith's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Smith officially can sign with New England when free agency begins Wednesday afternoon.

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The 25-year-old posted career receiving numbers with the Titans last season, catching 41 passes for 441 yards and eight touchdowns. Smith began as a backup to Delanie Smith in Tennessee but ranked third on the team in targets last season behind only AJ Brown and Corey Davis.

Jonnu Smith has improved steadily since his rookie year in Tennessee.

Smith immediately becomes the No. 1 tight end in a Patriots offense severely lacking depth at the position. Ryan Izzo (13 catches for 199 yards) is the only returning tight end who tallied at least three catches in 2020, as rookies Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi were virtually invisible.

That may explain why the Patriots are paying Smith $12.5 million per year, which currently makes him New England's second-highest-paid player behind cornerback Stephon Gilmore.