Falcons To Release TE Jonnu Smith

A 2023 trade reunited Jonnu Smith with then-Falcons HC Arthur Smith. With a new coaching staff in Atlanta, the Falcons will move on from the veteran tight end.

For a second straight offseason, Smith will be changing teams. The Falcons will release the seventh-year veteran, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. Smith enjoyed a productive 2023 season and will certainly generate interest on the market. This will be his first time in free agency since 2021.

Smith totaled career-high numbers in receptions (50) and receiving yards (582) last season, adding three touchdowns in what was again a low-wattage Falcons passing attack. With Arthur Smith now in Pittsburgh and Zac Robinson set to call plays in Atlanta, the Falcons will move on from their experienced Kyle Pitts sidekick.

The Falcons will pick up $6.5MM in cap space by making this cut, which will push their total to nearly $40MM. The team had reworked Smith’s contract upon acquiring him last year and stands to gain a chunk of cap room as a result of making him a one-and-done in Atlanta.

Pitts remains tied to his rookie deal, though the former No. 4 overall pick is now extension-eligible. By picking up Pitts’ fifth-year option, the Falcons can extend his rookie contract through 2025. With Pitts being a one-time Pro Bowler, it will cost the Falcons $10.88MM to exercise the option.

Pitts and Smith formed one of the NFL’s top tight end tandems last season, combining to catch 103 passes for more than 1,200 yards. Smith finished the season as the Falcons’ third-leading receiver — behind Drake London and Pitts — and bounced back from his Patriots seasons. After commanding a lucrative deal as a free agent in 2021, Smith did not exceed 300 receiving yards in either of his two New England seasons alongside Hunter Henry.

Jonnu Smith did eclipse 400 yards in each of Arthur Smith’s two seasons as Titans OC. The Steelers rostering Pat Freiermuth and third-round pick Darnell Washington makes another reunion harder to envision, but given the success the 28-year-old pass catcher has achieved on the play-caller’s watch, it would seemingly not be out of the question.

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