• The New England Patriots are only in year 2 of a four-year contract for tight end Jonnu Smith, and they’re already restructuring the deal to create salary cap space.

    As reported by ESPN’s Field Yates on Friday, the Pats have converted $7.965 million of Smith’s $9M base salary into a signing bonus, creating $5.31 million in cap space for the 2022 season.

    Smith originally signed a four-year contract with the Patriots for up to $50 million in 2021, including $31.25 million guaranteed. He made about $16.9 million in salary and bonuses in the first year of the deal, and is on track to make another $10M in 2022.

    Converting Smith’s salary to a signing bonus grants the tight end an advance on his money, and allows the Patriots to spread the bonus out over the next three years. That creates the cap space for 2022, but also increases the cap hit in 2023 and 2024.

    According to Patriots cap expert Miguel Benzan, the Patriots’ total cap space is up to $8.85 million as of Friday. That should be plenty of room to make in-season additions to the roster in free agency or at the trade deadline.

    Smith, meanwhile, has a lot of ground to make up in order to justify the massive payday the Patriots gave him last off-season. He played in 16 games but only made 28 catches for 294 yards and one touchdown.

    The Patriots have continued to utilize Smith in the passing game, especially to get him the ball in space and give him opportunities to gain yards after the catch. He’s unlikely to pop in a major way in terms of production, but Smith should almost certainly improve upon his 2021 numbers.

  • Sports Hub Underground | Patriots Roster Thoughts and More

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  • According to Patriots cap expert Miguel Benzan, the Patriots’ total cap space is up to $8.85 million as of Friday. That should be plenty of room to make in-season additions to the roster in free agency or at the trade deadline.

    Smith, meanwhile, has a lot of ground to make up in order to justify the massive payday the Patriots gave him last off-season. He played in 16 games but only made 28 catches for 294 yards and one touchdown.

    The Patriots have continued to utilize Smith in the passing game, especially to get him the ball in space and give him opportunities to gain yards after the catch. He’s unlikely to pop in a major way in terms of production, but Smith should almost certainly improve upon his 2021 numbers.

  • Smith is healthy and on track to start in two-tight end sets with Hunter Henry, as the only two tight ends on the Patriots’ main roster. They’re both locked in to play Week 1 in Miami, when the Patriots and Dolphins kick off the 2022 regular season on Sept. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium.

    We’ll continue to keep you updated throughout football season here at 985TheSportsHub.com. Listen below for the latest episode of the Sports Hub Patriots Podcast, and click here for complete Pats coverage.

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  • Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at [email protected].

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