Miami Dolphins Free Agency 2024: Mike McDaniel Needs a Complete Tight End

After essentially ignoring the tight end position in 2023, could this be the year that Mike McDaniel and the Miami Dolphins make a splash in free agency?

Ever since Mike McDaniel took over the Miami Dolphins in 2022, the tight end position has effectively been a black hole on the field.

But as the Dolphins in general — and Tua Tagovailoa in particular — look to take another step forward, it’s time for McDaniel to take a page from his old boss’ book.

Will Miami Dolphins Seriously Address Tight End Position?

What’s been so surprising about McDaniel’s approach is that he and Kyle Shanahan had great success in San Francisco with George Kittle.

That success has continued without McDaniel, as Shanahan, Kittle, and the 49ers were one defensive stop away from winning the Super Bowl last week. McDaniel’s next playoff victory, meanwhile, will be his first as a head coach.

Since 2022, tight ends have gotten just 127 of the Dolphins’ 1,111 passing targets (11.4%).

And that’s by design.

The Dolphins simply have not prioritized the position. They spent $5.1 million on the position in 2023, eighth-least in football.

Miami needs a legit No. 3 passing target who can feast on zones across the middle. Here are four options expected to be available in free agency.

All rankings and commentary are courtesy of PFN NFL analyst Dallas Robinson, who compiled PFN’s Top 100 list.

Potential Miami Dolphins Tight End Targets in Free Agency

Dalton Schultz | Houston Texans

Robinson’s Take: Schultz played on the franchise tag with the Dallas Cowboys in 2022 and then had to settle for a one-year, $6.25 million deal with the Houston Texans last season.

While he may never match his 78-808-8 line with Dallas in 2021, Schultz is a reliable target over the middle of the field and a capable inline blocker. He’s the clear-cut No. 1 free agent TE in this year’s class.

Noah Fant | Seattle Seahawks

  • Age: 26
  • Seasons: 5
  • Last Contract: Five years, $19.6 million ($3.9 million AAV)
  • Overall Ranking: 62
  • Position Ranking: 2

Robinson’s Take: Part of the haul the Seahawks acquired in the Russell Wilson trade, Fant saw his role dwindle once he landed in Seattle. But he’s a former first-round pick with three 500-yard seasons on his ledger who can play inline, in the slot, or out wide.

Even though Fant’s receiving statistics have dropped off considerably over the last two years, the lack of available free agent TEs will help his contract case.

Hunter Henry | New England Patriots

  • Age: 29
  • Seasons: 8
  • Last Contract: Three years, $37.3 million ($12.4 million AAV)
  • Spotrac Estimated Market Value: One year, $7.6 million ($7.6 million AAV)
  • Overall Ranking: 66
  • Position Ranking: 3

Robinson’s Take: Another tight end whose stock could be boosted by this year’s weak FA crop, Henry never again matched his first season in New England (50-603-9). But he’s a valuable blocker who can still open in the red zone.

MORE: Miami Dolphins CB Options if Xavien Howard Gets Cut

While labeling a TE a quarterback’s security blanket might be cliché, that’s what Henry is.

Mike Gesicki | New England Patriots

  • Age: 28
  • Seasons: 6
  • Last Contract: 1 year, $4.9 million ($4.9 million AAV)
  • PFN Top 100 Overall Ranking: 91
  • Position Ranking: 4

Robinson’s Take: Over the past four years, only seven tight ends posted multiple 700-yard campaigns. Gesicki was one of them, but his two best years came in 2020 and 2021.

He failed to reach yards in 2022 and 2023 combined, but Gesicki can be a weapon in the right offense.

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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