Jonnu Smith arrived in New England as a headline-making addition. He'll leave as little more than a cap casualty.
The Patriots are trading Smith to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick (No. 245 overall), NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday, per sources.
Smith will also agree to a re-worked contract, which was set to take up $17.2 million in cap space prior to Monday's agreement, per Rapoport.
The trade cannot be finalized until the start of the new league year at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 15.
Smith joined the Patriots during the 2021 offseason as one of two big-ticket signings at tight end (the other being Hunter Henry), but never found a way to live up to expectations. He caught 55 passes for 539 yards and one touchdown combined between the 2021 and '22 seasons, all but disappearing in New England's offense.
Smith arrived in New England to much fanfare as a playmaking tight end who scored 11 touchdowns between 2019 and 2020. Now he's headed to Atlanta for the price of a seventh-round pick the Falcons had previously acquired from Buffalo.
Atlanta will be happy to have Smith, whom the Falcons can line up opposite Kyle Pitts to create an incredibly athletic duo of tight ends, perhaps in a fashion similar to the one Tennessee used with Smith and Delanie Walker at the end of last decade.
No matter how it looks in Atlanta, the Falcons added depth for a low cost (contract rework pending), while the Patriots were able to move on from one of their previous big swings in free agency as they chart their offensive future and clear cap room to adjust accordingly.