When tight end Jonnu Smith signed a four-year, $50 million deal with the Patriots in the offseason, most of the focus was on the impact he’d make in the passing game.
Smith was coming off career highs across the board — 41 catches for 448 yards and eight touchdowns — as a receiver in 2020, but he hasn’t produced at the same level that he did in Tennessee. Smith has seen a lot of time as a blocker while playing half the offensive snaps and catching 22 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown.
That’s not the role many envisioned for Smith, but it isn’t one he’s complaining about as he prepares for this Sunday’s matchup with his former team. Smith said he has “no reason to put my head down” about doing what coaches are asking for him to do in the offense.
“I’m thankful I’m in the position that I am,” Smith said, via Nicole Yang of the Boston Globe. “Whatever it is I’m called or asked to do, that’s just always been the player I’ve been. I don’t necessarily worry about the role. I just embrace it. I’m not going to worry about the role.”
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said this week that it takes some players longer to find their way in the team’s offensive system, so Smith’s time may still come this year and a trip to the playoffs would create even more opportunities for the breakout game that has eluded Smith to this point.