Jonathan Jones, who is the longest tenured member of the Patriots secondary, has reportedly agreed to a two-year deal to re-sign with the team. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots have taken a step toward maintaining some stability in their secondary, agreeing to terms on a new contract to retain free agent cornerback Jonathan Jones.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Monday the 29-year-old intends to sign a two-year deal. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because new contracts can’t officially be signed until Wednesday.

Jones thrived last season after switching from primarily defending slot receivers to playing on the outside. He started 16 games, tying for the team lead with four interceptions. He led all Patriots with 11 pass breakups.

With veteran safety Devin McCourty announcing his retirement last week, Jones who has spent his entire seven seasons in New England since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2016, becomes the longest-tenured player in the Patriots secondary.

The Patriots have reportedly agreed to trade tight end Jonnu Smith to the Atlanta Falcons for a seventh-round draft pick. Greg M. Cooper/Associated Press

THE PATRIOTS are trading veteran tight end Jonnu Smith to the Atlanta Falcons for a 2023 seventh-round pick, a source confirmed to the Boston Herald.

The Patriots will create $4.4 million in cap space and absorb a $12.8 million dead cap hit, per Over the Cap, in what amounts to a salary dump less than an hour away from the start of free agency. Smith has two years remaining on the four-year deal he signed as an unrestricted free agent in March 2021, one of the least team-friendly contracts in the league. Over two seasons in New England, Smith caught just 55 passes, scored one touchdown and failed to crack 300 yards in each year.


Smith’s departure leaves Hunter Henry and practice-squad players Matt Sokol and Scotty Washington in the team’s tight ends room. With Henry’s contract set to expire after next season, tight end now becomes a top need for the Patriots. Several draft prospects, including Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer and Utah’s Dalton Kincaid, are potential first or second-round picks. The tight end class is viewed as one of the deepest in years.

If the Patriots prefer to replace Smith in free agency, they could pursue any number of veterans. Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz is the best player available, followed by Miami’s Mike Gesicki, who is more of a pass-catcher than run-blocker. Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst is a solid, well-rounded tight end, as is Austin Hooper, formerly of the Titans and Browns.

In adding a seventh-round pick, the Patriots now have 11 selections in the upcoming NFL Draft, tied for most in the league with Houston. The Pats will make their first selection at 14th overall and their final pick with Atlanta’s seventh-rounder at No. 245.

The NFL Network first reported Smith’s trade to Atlanta, where he will reunite with head coach Arthur Smith, formerly his offensive coordinator in Tennessee.

THE PATRIOTS are expected to re-sign defensive tackle Carl Davis to a one-year contract, a source told the Boston Herald.

Davis has been a rotational player on the Pats’ defensive line since they signed him off Jacksonville’s practice squad in Oct. 2020. At 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds, Davis is one of the team’s best run stuffers and the primary backup to nose tackle Davon Godchaux. Last season, he recorded 11 tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery over 16 games.

Davis played 21% of the team’s defensive snaps last year after logging 26% in 2021. He rejoins Godchaux, Lawrence Guy, Christian Barmore and 2022 sixth-round pick Sam Roberts in the Patriots’ defensive line room. Fellow defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale remains a free agent.

Davis’ deal followed the re-signing of cornerback Jonathan Jones, who reached terms on a 2-year deal reportedly worth $19 million. The Patriots started the day by trading away tight end Jonnu Smith to Atlanta for a seventh-round pick.

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