Why Smith saw Patriots as 'perfect opportunity' for next stage of career


Jonnu Smith didn't mince words when asked Tuesday about signing a four-year contract with the New England Patriots in NFL free agency.

“It just seemed like the perfect opportunity,” Smith said in a Zoom call with reporters. “From knowing what I knew, I believed everything they stand for matches my football DNA, and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I believe that this franchise has everything it needs, all the ingredients, all the right stuff, and I’m just honored and blessed to be a part of that.”

The 25-year-old veteran also called joining the Patriots "one of the greatest days of my life."

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Smith is coming off a strong 2020 season for the Tennessee Titans during which he tallied career highs with 41 receptions, 448 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

The Patriots weren't content with just adding Smith to bolster a tight end group that ranked dead last in the league last season in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. They also signed free agent tight end Hunter Henry, and Smith is looking forward to teaming up with the former Los Angeles Chargers star.


"Oh man, I was extremely excited for the opportunity," Smith said. "I've seen the success that the Patriots have had in the past with two-tight-end sets. I'm confident in their ability to be able to allow us to make plays and put us in a position to win. That's what we're out here for. Whatever needs to be done, that's what we're going to do.

"I'm excited for the opportunity. (Henry is) a great tight end and I'm excited to be out there battling with him and making each other better."

The additions of Smith and Henry, combined with the free agent signings of wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor, have the ability to transform the Patriots' passing attack into a legitimate threat this coming season after struggling for much of the 2020 campaign.