Home sweet home: former FIU tight-end inks deal with Dolphins

Tight-end Jonnu Smith making a touchdown catch against Missouri S&T. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics.

Will Duval | Sports Director

After spending seven years in the National Football League, former Panthers’ tight-end Jonnu Smith signed a two year contract with the Miami Dolphins, first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday, March 7, 2024.

Smith, standing at 6-3 and 248 pounds, had a historic four year career with the FIU football team. He played for the team from 2013-2016 and holds multiple program statistical records for his position.

Over his career, Smith accumulated 178 receptions and totaled 2,001 receiving yards, the most in team history among tight-ends in each statistic. Beyond positional rankings, he also holds the fourth most career receptions and fifth most career receiving yards.

In 2014, he had a breakout year and nearly doubled his production from the previous year by setting career highs in every major statistic. On the season, he amassed 710 receiving yards, 61 receptions, eight touchdowns and played in all 12 games.

A graphic showing TE Jonnu Smith’s career-statistics during his tenure with FIU. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics. Graphic design by Will Duval | PantherNOW.

Following his historical run with the Panthers, Smith declared for the NFL draft after the conclusion of the 2016 season. He was selected in the third round of the 2017 draft with the 100th overall pick by the Tennessee Titans, where he’d spend his first four years.

Smith spent the majority of his career with the Titans and started in 53 of the 60 games that he played in. Over four years with the franchise, he accumulated 1,302 receiving yards, 114 receptions and 16 receiving touchdowns.

In the 2020 season, Smith established himself as one of the league’s most reliable tight-ends and scored the fourth most touchdowns at his position. On the year, he finished with 448 total yards, 41 receptions and nine touchdowns.

Due to his performance in 2020, he was awarded and signed to a four year, $50,000,000 contract with the New England Patriots in the 2021 offseason.

However, Smith wouldn’t spend the entirety of the contract with the Patriots, as he only spent two seasons with the team. After starting in 19 of the 30 games he played in, he accumulated 539 yards, 59 catches, and one touchdown.

Upon the conclusion of the 2022-2023 season, he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a 2023 seventh round draft pick on March 15, 2023. The trade reunited him with former head coach Arthur Smith, who was his offensive coordinator with the Titans.

Despite the reunion, his tenure with the Falcons was short-lived, as the team released him almost one year later on Feb. 27, 2024. In one year with the team, he finished with 582 receiving yards and 50 receptions, which set career-highs in each statistic.

The release allowed him to enter NFL free agency and sign a two year contract with the Miami Dolphins on Thursday, March 7. Although PantherNOW attempted to reach out to Smith and his team for comment, they did not respond.

Returning home for his eighth season in the league, Smith looks to be one of the Dolphins’ leading options at tight-end. He is among multiple new signings for the team in an offseason full of personnel changes.

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