After completing the most productive season of his career with the Titans in 2020, Jonnu Smith hit the free agent market as one of the class's best-available and most sought-after tight ends.
Upon his initial signing of a four-year, $50 million deal with the Patriots, there was a lot of excitement because of how long it had been since the team had a high-performing tight end, basically since the retirement of Rob Gronkowski a few seasons prior.
But unfortunately, Smith never lived up to the expectations or contract, thus leading to his trade to the Falcons earlier this year.
During his two seasons in New England, the tight end played second fiddle to Hunter Henry, who quickly earned the starting tight end role. It was clear that both Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia tried to work him into the offense, whether as a blocker or a pass catcher, even having several plays with him coming out of the backfield.
But none of it worked.
In those two years, he totaled 55 receptions for 539 yards and one touchdown in 30 games. On top of that, he also added six total drops as a Patriot, with four occurring in his first season.
Whether the initial assumption of his potential success in New England was overblown or he became a product of lousy coaching during last season at the hands of Patricia, we'll never know.
However, it seems fair to say he was given the opportunity to succeed and couldn't get out of his own way, leading him to the next chapter of his career in Atlanta.