Could the Miami Dolphins actually trade Mike Gesicki?

Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel didn't exactly shoot down a report that the team has brought up Mike Gesicki's name in trade talks.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel had ample opportunity to shoot down growing rumors Thursday that tight end Mike Gesicki could be traded. And he declined to do so.

That’s the latest interesting development in an increasingly interesting saga involving the Dolphins’ leading receiver since 2019.

Mike McDaniel weighs in on Mike Gesicki trade chatter

Gesicki — the team’s 2022 franchise tag designee — has had some growing pains in McDaniel’s offensive system, making the transition from a glorified slot receiver to a true tight end. Blocking has never been a strength, but even hanging onto passes has been an issue.

Gesicki has played more snaps than any likely Dolphins offensive starter, and played deep into the second quarter last Saturday against the Raiders because, in his words, he “need[s] all the reps [he] can get.”

On Wednesday, Pro Football Focus reported that “Dolphins have brought up TE Mike Gesicki’s name in trade discussions.”

Thursday morning was the first opportunity reporters had to ask McDaniel about that report. PFN did, asking if there was any truth to it, and if Gesicki was guaranteed a spot on the Dolphins’ Week 1 roster. McDaniel chose to answer the first part of the question, but not the second.

Here’s McDaniel’s entire response:

“I’ve alluded to this before the beginning of the offseason — during the training camp, during the offseason in general, GMs have work to do, and they’re not just watching us coach. So when they use that loose verbiage of, ‘All right, well, yeah, his name has been brought up or whatever,’ you know, I mean, the report is kind of misleading, because like, there probably should be a lot of names on that report.

“All I’m focused on and that’s, you know, regardless of what people try to drum up, like, I’m focused on coaching Mike, Mike’s focused on getting better. And, you know, people made stuff about this, that, or the other. Whether you’re a receiver or a tight end, or we even have running backs to it, you have to be able to do stuff with a ball and you have to be able to block for other people that are doing stuff for the ball. And we continue to work those techniques with everyone.

“He had a great week of practice this week, which tells you a lot about that individual, because there has been random noise that he hasn’t listened to clearly. He’s putting his best foot forward and that’s all I’m concerned about. It’s my job to coach the players on the team and, and I like coaching Mike, and beyond that, like it’s kind of a no-ends process about talking about did someone talk about somebody else? That stuff happens more often than it doesn’t.”

Why a Gesicki trade is tricky

Reading between the lines, it’s fair to conclude that the Dolphins indeed have discussed Gesicki with other teams. Whether they brought his name up in conversations or other teams have is unclear.

But regardless of who initiated, a Gesicki trade — right now — seems to be a longshot.

He’s owed $10.9 million fully guaranteed. As of the most recently updated NFLPA salary cap report, less than half the team has the necessary cap space to make such a move. And of those teams, many have other more pressing needs than a tight end who doesn’t really play tight end.

A more likely scenario is the Dolphins try to make it work with Gesicki for the first half of the season and reassess ahead of the Nov. 1 trade deadline. At that point, the cap liability for any team that acquires him would be halved.

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