The Falcons have traded a 7th round pick to acquire New England Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith in what looks to be a great salary dump for the Patriots. Smith was going to count for $17.228 million on the Patriots salary cap and with a $6.25 million guaranteed salary they would have lose cap space had they cut him. Instead they will save about $4.4 million and take on $12.81 million in dead money.
A team trading for Smith is surprising. The Patriots signed him to an overly aggressive $12.5 million a year contract in 2021 with a wild $31.25 million fully guaranteed at signing. It looked like one of the worst signings that year and wound up being just that as the Patriots never found a role for Smith who had just 55 receptions for 549 yards in two years with the Patriots.
Smith has history with the Falcons head coach, but this still feels like an odd trade. He has an $11 million salary in each of the next two years, with $6.25 million of it guaranteed. My assumption would be that his salary has been reduced this year to $6.25 million and they either reduced next year’s salary as well or voided it out. $6.25 million would be in the ballpark of what Austin Hopper received last season after he was released by the Browns, so that figure might be more reflective of the market. Atlanta was already heavily invested at tight end after the drafting of Kyle Pitts, so Smith is probably more of a body to add to the mix for certain situations than someone who will be a full time player for the Falcons.