The Miami Dolphins, as of Monday, led the National Football League in available cap space for the 2022 season. On Tuesday, however, they dropped to second.
The Dolphins took to Twitter this morning and announced that 2018 second-round pick Mike Gesicki will receive the franchise tag from the team, a 1-year contract worth just under $11 million. Additionally, Gesicki has until July 15 to come to a long-term deal with the franchise before officially playing under the franchise tag.
We have placed the franchise tag on tight end Mike Gesicki. pic.twitter.com/nJYUw4WcYh— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) March 8, 2022
General manager Chris Grier and the front office started their spending a bit early and the team, if Gesicki plays under the tag, now has roughly $52 million in cap space, which is second behind the Chargers ($56 million). The Jaguars ($55 million) were second before tagging left tackle Cam Robinson on Tuesday.
The Dolphins retained a good player and the team has plenty of cap space to work with, but that can all change quickly. Miami chose to tag Gesicki over defensive end Emmanual Ogbah, who would make roughly $19 million if given the tag.
Preparing for #Dolphins free agency aka Dolla Dolla Bill Y’all.— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) March 7, 2022
Expect aggression including nuggets on what to expect for Mike Gesicki & Emmanuel Ogbah plus early buzz on their plan for open market. Talking C.R.E.A.M. on @nflnetwork: pic.twitter.com/OrvXwNM4Yt
While Miami may not want to pay that price tag for the defensive end, losing Ogbah would be a major blow to the team’s depth at the defensive end. Spotrac.com projects that Ohbah will make $10 million annually in free agency, which may be a bit closer to what the 2016 second-round pick may get on the open market.
The money quickly adds up if Ogbah is in the team’s future plans, along with the other upgrades on the wish list, which includes the offensive line, linebacker and running back.
Keep in mind, a top-tier tackle could cost the team more than $20 million per year on the open market. The Dolphins could create the space by restructuring — or moving on from — a handful of contracts.
Miami is still loaded with spending power and just $1.6 million in dead cap space is on the books. With that in mind, we’ve been here before and no matter the contract, it’s vital for the team to spend wisely and hit on a few players in order to avoid the cap-space issues of years past.