Jonnu Smith is destined to be on the Steelers following his release from the Falcons

Jonnu Smith has been released, and we might as well pencil him in on Pittsburgh's 2024 roster.

Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons
Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Since the moment the Pittsburgh Steelers officially named Arthur Smith as their new offensive coordinator, we knew that there were going to be certain players the former Falcons head coach would want to bring in to help his offense. Smith loves players who are physical and can line up at multiple positions.

Early in February, I wrote an article about players who could follow Arthur Smith to the Steelers. Free agent tight end MyCole Pruitt was a name that made a lot of sense, and we all know about the connection that Smith has with former Titans quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. However, no player has more of an 'Arthur Smith' feel than Jonnu Smith.

I included Smith on this short list despite the fact that he was previously under contract with the Atlanta Falcons for the 2024 season. Recently, however, ESPN's Adam Schefter confirmed that the Smith has been released. He will be free to sign with any team in free agency.

This makes the likelihood of the Steelers landing Jonnu Smith even greater. While the Steelers seem pretty well set at the tight end position with Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, and Connor Heyward, there's more than enough reason to believe that Smith could be joining this squad soon in Pittsburgh.

Why the Steelers will have interest in signing Jonnu Smith

Jonnu Smith has been in the NFL for seven years now. Of these seven accrued seasons, the veteran tight end has been with Arthur Smith for five of them. Jonnu has never put up gaudy numbers in the receiving game, but the three best seasons of his career all came when Smith was calling the plays.

It's also worth noting that the two lowest snap numbers of his career came in 2021 and 2022 when Smith was with the Patriots. Ironically, these are the only two seasons that Jonnu wasn't with Arthur Smith during his NFL career.

Because of his versatility to line up at multiple spots, Jonnu Smith has been the ideal tight end in Arthur Smith's offense over the years. He can move all over the formation including playing inline, in the slot, out wide, or even in the backfield. This is evidenced by his alignments at certain positions. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith played 273 snaps inline in 2023, 269 snaps from the slot, 80 out wide, 29 in the backfield, and even 2 snaps on the offensive line.

Arthur Smith values versatile players who can wear multiple hats, and Jonnu fits the bill as well as anyone he has played with. Now that he's available following his release from the Falcons, the Steelers could look to add him to the roster.

If Smith were to be signed by Pittsburgh, we could assume that his usage on offense would eat into the roles of other Steelers tight ends. This could mean that a player like Connor Heyward could go back to being used primarily on special teams or perhaps make the transition to more of a fullback for Pittsburgh.

Adding Smith to a roster that already has several capable tight ends seems a bit redundant and unnecessary, but I wouldn't put it past Pittsburgh. Arthur Smith clearly loves this guy, and Jonnu Smith feels destined to be on the Steelers's roster one way or another.