The NFL’s new league year unofficially began on Monday afternoon as the “legal tampering” period of free agency opened at 12pm EST.
From now until Wednesday at 4pm when the league year actually begins, players, agents, and teams are allowed to begin negotiating trades and new contracts – but nothing can be signed until Wednesday.
Though no true “splash move” was made by the Patriots just yet, they’ve made several key transactions so far on Monday. Here’s a look:
Tight End Jonnu Smith Traded to Falcons
Prior to noontime, the Patriots made their first move of the day by trading tight end Jonnu Smith to the Atlanta Falcons for a 2023 seventh-round pick in return.
Smith was also a part of New England’s “Free Agency Monday” plans two seasons ago when they signed him to a four-year, $50 million contract at the start of the 2021 season. It didn’t work out in their favor.
The tight end finished his tenure in Foxboro with just 55 catches for 539 yards. He never surpassed 300 yards in a season – and scored just one touchdown.
The Patriots’ real return in this deal was the salary cap relief. They created ~$4 million in space for 2023 and $18.405 million for 2024.
Jonathan Jones Re-Signs on Two-Year Deal
In a major move for their secondary, New England re-signed cornerback Jonathan Jones to a two-year contract.
Here are the parameters of the deal, according to AtoZ Sports’ Doug Kyed:
- Two years, $19M
- $7.5M signing bonus
- $13M total guarantees
- $58,824 per game roster bonuses
- Up to $500k in playing time incentives each year
- Base salaries:
- 2023: $1.5M
- 2024: $8M
A steal! Jones told the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian last week that he “It’s what I know, it’s what I love, It’s New England. It’s hard to say no to New England.” He wanted to come back where he was comfortable, and this deal echoes that. Mike Giardi from NFL Network reported that there was more money on the table elsewhere for Jones.
DT Carl Davis Returns
According to Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald, defensive tackle Carl Davis will be returning to the Patriots on a one-year deal.
Davis was solid in filling the Patriots’ void at defensive tackle in 2022 while Christian Barmore missed time due to injury, totaling 11 tackles, one sack, and a fumble recovery in relief. I wouldn’t expect this deal to break the bank, but it certainly gives New England breathing room on the interior.
New England Just Misses in Tackle Sweepstakes
The Tennessee Titans beat the Patriots to a punch when trying to acquire an offensive tackle.
According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, New England was “competing for” tackle Andre Dillard before he decided to sign with the Tennessee Titans.
Though they ultimately missed out – it means they’re in the market and in conversations for a new tackle.
Make sure to follow Mike on Twitter @mikekadlick, and follow @PatriotsCLNS for the latest up-to-date Patriots news!
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