The Miami Dolphins made a surprise head coach change during the 202 offseason, firing Brian Flores and hiring Mike McDaniel. Where Flores had built a strong defensive base for the Dolphins, the team was looking to McDaniel to improve the offense and to get quarterback Tua Tagovailoa playing up to his potential. The Dolphins added offensive linemen Terron Armstead and Connor Williams and wide receiver Tyreek Hill to bring the offense into McDaniel’s vision, and, when the starters, specifically Tagovailoa, were playing the offense was explosive.
Except for one player. Tight end Mike Gesicki just could not seem to find his place in the offense. Miami franchise tagged Gesicki last offseason, a move that seemed to indicate that Gesicki’s full potential would be on display as part of the offensive design McDaniel was implementing. None of that happened and Gesicki became an afterthought during most games.
The NFL calendar now heads toward the 2023 free agency period, and questions again surround the Dolphins and Gesicki. Tuesday is the deadline for teams to place the franchise tag on a player for this season. Could Miami use the tag on their tight end again? Is it time to let the 2018 second-round pick hit the free-agent market? Can a new contract between the two sides be worked out before next week’s start of the new league year and free agent signing period?
As the franchise tag deadline looms this afternoon, we continue our annual look at the Dolphins’ soon-to-be free agents with the next edition of the “Walk, tag, or re-sign” series. We have already taken a look at safety/special teams player Clayton Fejedelem, punter Thomas Morstead, running back Raheem Mostert, linebacker Elandon Roberts, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, defensive lineman John Jenkins, offensive lineman Michael Deiter, linebacker Trey Flowers, and offensive tackle Eric Fisher.
What should the Dolphins do with FisheGesicki? We break down their options today and give you a chance to decide if they should re-sign him, franchise tag him, or let him walk in free agency.
Position: Tight end
Age (at the start of the 2023 season): 27
College: Penn State
NFL experience: 5 years
Expiring contract: 1 year, $10.9 million (franchise tag)
Gesicki came into the 2022 season as an ascending player, one who was on a Pro Bowl trajectory and was on the verge of being considered among the league’s elite at the position. He had jumped up to 73 receptions and 780 receiving yards in 2021. It appeared, with the addition of Hill along with Waddle’s growth in a second year in the league, Gesicki would have the opportunity to dominate in the middle of the field, exploiting the space defenses would have to give him as they focused on the wide receivers. McDaniel joined the Dolphins after working as the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, where he used the dual nature of the tight end position where a player can work as a receiver or as a blocker, the idea of seeing Gesicki turn into a player like the 49ers’ Geoge Kittle had fans excited to watch Miami’s franchise player in 2022. Despite Gesicki’s weakness as a blocker, his talent as a receiver was something McDaniel could design around.
But it just never came together for Gesick and McDaniel. Gesicki saw his playing time drop to less than half the available offensive snaps, his lowest playing time since his rookie season. It was a frustrating year for Gesicki, but he handled the reduced playing time and lack of passes targeting him professionally. He never openly complained and he continued to appear to be having fun whenever the team succeeded or when he was able to get the ball.
2022 stats: 17 games played (1 start), 32 receptions, 362 yards, 11.3 yards per reception average, 5 touchdowns
Gesicki is an extremely talented pass-catcher, but he does not seem to fit into the mold of a tight end that McDaniel wants. He could be used more as a big slot receiver rather than a tight end, but there will be teams in free agency looking to add him and use him better than the Dolphins did last year.
Walk, Tag, Re-Sign?
Franchise tag number: $13.1 million (Second franchise tag)
This one is tough. Gesicki is exactly the type of player you want on a team. He will do whatever is asked of him, without opening complaining if things do not go his way, will celebrate other players’ successes and team wins, and he has the talent to be a star. However, he just disappeared from the game plan last year and he will likely be too expensive for the role he seems to fit in McDaniel’s system. I would love to have him remain in aqua for his entire career, but it feels like this is headed more toward a split between the club and Gesicki.
Verdict: Walk (unless McDaniel has a plan to use Gesicki in a different role than last year)
Should the Dolphins allow Mike Gesicki to walk in free agency, re-sign him, or franchise tag him?
This poll is closed