Patriots $50 Million Bust Called a ‘Detriment’ To The Team

Getty New England Patriots, Jonnu Smith

The marriage between the New England Patriots and tight end Jonnu Smith hasn’t worked out for nearly two seasons. The Patriots signed the talented but disappointing Smith to a four-year, $50 million free-agent deal ahead of the 2021 season.

New England believed it was putting together a tight-end tandem with Smith and Hunter Henry that would create matchup problems while making life easier for then-rookie quarterback Mac Jones. Unfortunately, through 26 games, Smith has a total of 28 receptions for an underwhelming 488 yards and just one touchdown.

That’s probably not what Bill Belichick and Co. had in mind for Smith when the team signed him. After another disappointing performance from Smith on Thanksgiving night in the 33-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, The Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard laid into Smith in his recap of the game’s top and lowest-performing Patriots.

Smith made his way into Bedard’s “Five Down” portion of the assessment, where he said Smith: “didn’t play much, and when he did, he wasn’t helping the cause.”

Jonnu Smith Called a Detriment to the Patriots on Thanksgiving

In the game, Smith played 16 snaps, which was just 29% of the plays in the game. Smith didn’t record a single catch, he wasn’t targeted, and the Patriots didn’t even hand him the ball out of the backfield. Smith was asked to block, but according to Bedard, he didn’t handle those assignments very well.

Bedard slammed Smith during another segment of the article. He wrote: “Jonnu Smith was a detriment in this game. He basically tackled [Rhamondre] Stevenson on a possible huge run.”

The play he was talking about resulted in a gain of just five yards after Smith seemingly fell on top of Stevenson as the running back tried to break the run to the outside. Bedard also called Smith out for his lack of execution during a key second-quarter segment where the former insists the latter either ran the “wrong route,” or didn’t create any separation from his defender.

You have to wonder if the Patriots will try to find a take for Smith in the offseason. It will be a tough sell for any potentially interested team. Smith has a $17.4 million cap hit next season and counts for $19 million toward a dead cap hit if released. There is an out after next year. Unless he finally starts playing like the player the Patriots thought they were signing in 2021, New England will be counting the days until they can break free from one of that offseason’s worst signings.

Around the NFL: Draft Order If The Season Ended on Monday Night

If you like the thought of Bryce Young or CJ Stroud wearing a Houston Texans jersey, we’re likely inching closer to that becoming a reality. If the season ended after the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night, the Texans would get the No. 1 pick.

With second-year quarterback Davis Mills getting benched recently, it seems safe to assume the Texans will probably still be in the market for a franchise quarterback. At 1-9, they are in a position to choose first in the upcoming NFL Draft. As of now, the Chicago Bears would have the No. 2 pick. They seem to be set at quarterback with Justin Fields, so they might be more inclined to trade the pick to a QB-thirsty team that covets the QB the Texans choose to pass on.

The Patriots would be picking 18th. Buckle up for what should be an exciting finish to the 2022 season and an eventful offseason.

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