Whether Cam Newton actually will be the Patriots’ starting quarterback this season or someone else will be throwing passes, there will be at least one extra weapon at his disposal.
ESPN reported Monday that the Pats and tight end Jonnu Smith agreed to terms on a four-year, $50 million contract on the first day teams were allowed to negotiating with pending free agents.
The former Tennessee Titans tight end was possibly the top player available at his position.
Last season, Patriots tight ends (Ryan Izzo, Devin Asiasi) caught just 15 passes for 238 yards and one touchdown, while they were targeted just 27 times. Tight end Matt LaCosse, who caught 13 passes and scored one touchdown in 2019, opted out of the 2020 season because his wife was due to give birth during the season.
Smith, 25, caught 41 passes for 448 yards and eight touchdowns last season — all career highs. In four seasons with the Titans since they picked him in the third round (100th overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft, Smith has racked up 1,302 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns while making 114 catches.
Heading into free agency, the Pats were considered front-runners for Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry’s services, but those plans obviously have changed with the Pats landing one of the top free agents at the position.
Meanwhile, LaCosse, Izzo, Asiasi and Dalton Keene are still under contract and behind Smith on the Pats’ depth chart.
After bulking up the talent level at tight end, the Patriots then moved to bolster their defensive line by agreeing to terms with former Dolphins nose tackle Davon Godchaux to a two-year, $16 million deal.