Jonnu Smith becomes cap casualty, saves Falcons $6.5 million

NFL: SEP 17 Packers at Falcons

Falcons brass is in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine, but Terry Fontenot and Raheem Morris aren’t just meddling with the media.

According to Adam Schefter, the Falcons are releasing tight end Jonnu Smith as the veteran becomes the first cap casualty of Atlanta’s offseason, saving the club $6.5 million.

Jonnu Smith actually had a really productive year in Atlanta. With his former offensive coordinator calling plays, the former Titan and Patriot logged over 530 yards and three scores on 50 receptions.

His familiarity with Arthur Smith ultimately led to Fontenot acquiring him in a trade with New England, and I’d say the move worked out well for both sides.

Unfortunately, with Zac Robinson now orchestrating the offense, a $9 million TE2 isn’t exactly a luxury the Falcons can afford. Atlanta’s new offensive coordinator is expected to run some variation of Sean McVay’s offense, which features a lot of 11 personnel (only one tight end on the field).

This isn’t an unexpected move at all for the Falcons, and I’m expecting others.

There are several obvious candidates to be cut this offseason. Taylor Heinicke is one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league, and there’s value in that. However, with Desmond Ridder under contract at a much lower figure, Heinicke is suddenly expendable and will save the Falcons $7 million against the cap.

A couple of more names are Mike Hughes and Lorenzo Carter. The cornerback and edge positions are roster needs and you don’t want to make them an even bigger need by parting ways with quality depth pieces, but the Falcons have to upgrade, rather than just bolster those units with half measures.

Be sure to look out for more moves in the coming days as the new league year approaches.

Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire

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