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Top Team Fits For Former $50 Million Tight End

The Atlanta Falcons released Jonnu Smith, and the tight end should have a few interested suitors in free agency.
Jonnu Smith Free Agency

In something of an expected move, the Atlanta Falcons released tight end Jonnu Smith, allowing the longtime veteran to reach free agency. Originally acquired from the New England Patriots, Smith had a solid season during his lone campaign with the Atlanta Falcons. Appearing in all 17 games, the tight end recorded 50 receptions for 582 yards and three touchdowns on 70 targets while infuriating Kyle Pitts fantasy football managers everywhere.

Following four solid seasons with the Tennessee Titans, Jonnu Smith signed a massive four-year, $50 million contract with the Patriots in free agency. The tight end never came close to living up to that value, as he hauled in just one touchdown and failed to eclipse the 300-yard mark with his new team.

This underwhelming showing destroyed Smith’s public perception, but his time with the Falcons and Titans proves that he can be effective in the right system. While Jonnu Smith will never be a superstar, a few teams will be interested in signing an adequate starter in free agency.

Top 5 Free Agency Fits For Jonnu Smith

Best Destinations

Pittsburgh Steelers

Say what you will about Arthur Smith, but he knows how to get the most out of Jonnu Smith. Whether it was as the offensive coordinator in Tennessee or the head coach in Atlanta, all of tight end’s best seasons have come with Smith calling the shots. If you’re wondering why the Steelers would want to sign Jonnu Smith in free agency when they already have Pat Freiermuth and Darnell Washington, then you haven’t spent enough time following Smith’s Falcons. It doesn’t matter who’s already on the roster, this guy is going to use whichever players he wants, no matter the cost.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers could use a tight end, especially with Gerald Everett set to hit the open market. While there is a chance the Chargers re-sign him, first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh could pivot to Jonnu Smith in free agency. Both players have similar skillsets, but Smith is one year younger and might not cost as much. This matters for a cap-strapped team like the Chargers, and while Smith certainly isn’t their tight end of the future, he could be a short-term bridge for whoever the team drafts in 2024.

Tennessee Titans

There is a chance that Jonnu Smith will return to his original NFL home in free agency. While Mike Vrabel and his coaching staff are gone, there have to be a few familiar faces in the front office who know that the tight end can do in the right environment. The Titans need to find anyone capable of catching the ball, and Smith can be a reliable underneath presence for second-year quarterback Will Levis.

Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins have the NFL’s most dangerous wide receiver duo in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. However, there isn’t a proven third option on the roster, and they desperately need a tight end. The Dolphins can solve both of these issues by signing Jonnu Smith in free agency. Smith’s athleticism should make him an ideal fit in Mike McDaniel’s high-octane offense, and defenses won’t be gameplanning for him when they have Hill and Waddle to worry about.

Carolina Panthers

Tight end is not the biggest of the Panthers offseason needs, but they could still use another one. Hayden Hurst is fine for what he is, but Jonnu Smith would probably be an upgrade in free agency. Smith can block and catch at an adequate level, and that’s something that very few players on the Panthers can say. Whether it’s helping Bryce Young get more time in protection or serving as checkdown option, Smith could be an asset for this team.

Main Photo: Bob Donnan – USA Today Sports


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