Atlanta Falcons tight End Jonnu Smith - Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons News

Falcons Release Veteran Pass Catcher: Report

The Atlanta Falcons fired head coach Arthur Smith at the end of the 2023 regular season. On February 27, they departed with one of Smith’s favorite offensive weapons — tight end Jonnu Smith.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Falcons released Smith. The move saved the team $6.5 million in cap space.

Smith posted career-highs of 50 catches and 582 receiving yards during the 2023 season. He also had 3 touchdowns.

He was third on the team in receiving yards and fourth in receptions last season.

Smith began his career as a third-round pick for the Tennessee Titans in 2017. During the first two years of his career, Arthur Smith was his position coach. Arthur Smith was then Tennessee’s offensive coordinator during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

After 2020, Jonnu Smith played for the New England Patriots in 2021 and 2022 before signing with the Falcons last offseason.

In 107 career NFL games, Smith has posted 219 catches, 2,423 yards and 20 touchdowns. He registered a career-high 8 receiving touchdowns during Arthur Smith’s last season as Titans offensive coordinator in 2020.

Although the Falcons cut Smith as a cap-savings move, the team could re-sign him. As long as they bring him back on a contract under $6 million, they will have saved money toward the 2024 salary cap.

Without Smith, the Falcons have John FitzPatrick and Tucker Fisk on the roster for depth at tight end behind starter Kyle Pitts.

Given how much Arthur Smith loved Smith as a tight end passing target, he’s a candidate to join the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency. The Steelers hired Arthur Smith as offensive coordinator this offseason.

However, Pittsburgh already has three tight ends under contract for the 2024 season — Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington and Connor Heyward. The Steelers have drafted all three of those tight ends since the 2021 NFL draft.