The Miami Dolphins added former Denver Broncos tight end Eric Saubert early in free agency before snagging Elijah Higgins in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. The franchise also re-signed Durham Smythe this offseason and general manager Chris Grier didn’t stop there.
In early May, the Dolphins inked Tyler Kroft to a one-year deal with a cap hit of $1,065,000, according to Over The Cap. Despite three moves by Miami’s front office, the former Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, and San Francisco 49ers tight end believes he can be an impact player in South Florida.
“We made it pretty known that if we didn’t sign somewhere in the first few days that we were going to see how the draft shook out, and where my agent and I, and family where we thought there would be a good opportunity to play,” Kroft said when speaking to the media on Wednesday. “I know we have a good – Durham [Smythe] has been here for six years, but I know there are some younger guys in the room, too. Familiarity with the system, too, being with the Jets two years ago, and the 49ers last year, it seemed like it would be a nice smooth transition into the offense so all of those played a factor.”
The Dolphins used the franchise tag on Mike Gesicki in 2022 but he lined up in the slot roughly 50 percent of the time he was on the field. Smythe was inline for 453 of his 735 snaps and allowed three sacks last season.
Kroft, due to his experience operating in offenses similar to Miami’s, may hit the ground running after 192 snaps without allowing a sack as an inline blocker with the 49ers last season. In fact, he hasn’t allowed a sack in his last 800 snaps over the last four seasons.
“I still think I can do some things well in the passing game,” Kroft said. “I know at least going into – this is Year 9 for me, so going into that, I’m probably viewed more as a blocker now in this, but I still take pride in being able to do it all, and trying to be a three-down guy. I’ll never put myself into a box that way saying I can just do one or the other. But like I said before, I just take pride in doing it all.
“I’ve always took pride in trying to be a three-down guy. Excelling in the run game and the pass game. This is an offense that asks a lot out of the tight ends. It gives you an opportunity to do both which I really like.”
Grier and Miami’s front office brought in three tight ends this offseason and Kroft’s experience and ability to block may give him the inside track to playing time in 2023.