The Miami Dolphins have placed the franchise tag on tight end Mike Gesicki, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, bringing him back for a fifth season.
The 2018 second-round pick has increased his reception and receiving yard totals in each of his four NFL seasons, including a career-high 780 yards on 73 catches in 2021. Since entering the league, only six tight ends have more catches than Gesicki’s 199. He also ranks eighth among NFL tight ends with 2,255 receiving yards.
Gesicki was set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, with Spotrac estimating his market value at $44 million over four years. The Dolphins used a third-round pick in 2021 on tight end Hunter Long and kept five active tight ends on their 53-man roster during the season. None of them were as productive as Gesicki.
The Dolphins and Gesicki will have until July 15 to agree to a long-term deal. If no deal is reached, Gesicki will play the 2022 season on the franchise tender, which is worth $10.931 million for tight ends, according to a memo obtained by ESPN.
Gesicki was asked about his contract status throughout the season and publicly stated his happiness in Miami.
“I haven’t thought about it this season. I kind of just let it all play out,” he said on Jan. 5, prior to the team’s final game of the season. “Because it doesn’t matter how much I think about it or don’t think about it, it’s not really up to me. I just kind of go about my business and kind of let everything fall where it may. I do appreciate this organization.
“I’m happy where I’m at and I like the guys, like the locker room, like the coaches. I can go on and on about all the things I like. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”
The Dolphins’ top two tight ends, Gesicki and Durham Smythe, we’re both set to hit free agency this offseason. Long represents somewhat significant draft capital spent on the position, and he was active in only seven games last season.
While not considered a blocking tight end, Gesicki is one of the NFL’s premier receiving options at the position. Since entering the league, only six tight ends have had more receptions than Gesicki’s 199.
He also ranks eighth among NFL tight ends during that period with 2,255 receiving yards.
At 6-foot-6, 247 pounds, Gesicki, who turns 27 in October, presents a size advantage over defensive backs and a speed advantage over linebackers who cover him. The Dolphins were creative in trying to exploit those matchups, lining up Gesicki in the slot on 816 occasions since the start of 2018 — the seventh most among tight ends during that span.
Source: ESPN NFL