This week has started off crazy for the NFL. There are signings and extensions left and right and they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. One of the better signings to happen over the past day comes from the New England Patriots.
The Patriots just inked Tight-end Jonnu Smith to a four-year $50M deal.
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
This contract, which includes $31.25M guaranteed, makes Smith the third highest-paid tight end in the NFL on annual salary at $12.5M per year. This sits him behind just George Kittle and Travis Kelce, who have both been first-team All-Pro in the past.
This contract may have come as a surprise to some. Jonnu is the only one of the top five highest-paid tight ends to never allot more than 500 yards in a season. Aside from Kittle and Kelce, the other two on this list include Hunter Henry, who made $10.6M last year on a one-year deal, and Austin Hooper, who made $10.5.
While Smith never reached 500 receiving yards in a season, he did have 8 touchdowns last season. This tied him for fourth in the league last year.
With this $50M contract, Smith just became the highest-paid skill-position player the Patriots have ever signed. Rob Gronkowski and Randy Moss’ previous contracts were the next highest, averaging around $9M per year in their long-term deals.
New England is hoping Smith can bring the team new life after struggling in the tight-end department since the departure of Rob Gronkowski in 2018. Last season their number one target was Ryan Izzo. Izzo had less than 200 yards and zero touchdowns on the season.
If the Patriots are hoping to pick up a good receiver over the next few weeks or in the draft. This could get them back on track towards another playoff run.