Mike Gesicki Free Agency Profile: Franchise tag for Miami Dolphins tight end

Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki is a top-10 tight end in the NFL -- with free agency on the horizon, could he get a handsome contract?

Tight end Mike Gesicki has been a patient man. He’s been the Miami Dolphins’ most consistent receiver the last three years. However, Gesicki has not gotten a contract extension despite some impressive stats — even though teammates and draft classmates Jerome Baker and Jason Sanders have. That could, and should, change soon. But it might not. With Gesicki now on the verge of the 2022 free agency market, will the Dolphins block his path to a long-term payday yet again?

Update (3/8/22): The Dolphins have decided to place the franchise tag on tight end Mike Gesicki, with the hope of reaching a long-term deal. If not, the price tag for Gesicki in 2022 will be $10.9 million.

Mike Gesicki: Free Agency Overview

Gesicki has developed into one of the most reliable tight ends since entering the NFL as the draft’s 42nd overall pick in 2018. In just four seasons, he’s already tied for 19th on the Dolphins’ all-time receptions list (199) — a number that ranks third among tight ends in the team’s 56-year history.

Gesicki not only ranks 22nd on PFN’s Top 50 Free Agents Big Board, but he’s also No. 1 among tight ends, ahead of Dalton Schultz, David Njoku, and Rob Gronkowski.

Recapping Gesicki’s 2021 season

Gesicki placed second on the team in 2021 in catches (73) and receiving yards (780), behind only Jaylen Waddle in both categories. His 73 receptions were not only a career high but also fifth among all NFL tight ends. But none of those players made jaw-dropping plays on a week-to-week basis like Gesicki did. He caught nearly everything thrown his way, often with one hand.

Gesicki has 5 drops in 318 career targets, which more than makes up for any deficiencies he has blocking.

Gesicki’s contract estimate and salary cap implications

If there ever was a candidate for the franchise tag, Gesicki is it. The Dolphins could have locked him up long-term at any time. For whatever reason, they haven’t. That should tell you something. But does Mike McDaniel really want to subtract from an already talent-deficient offense in his first season?

That’s why the tag makes some sense. The number for a tight end ($10.8 million) is reasonable, particularly when you consider the Dolphins have the most cap space in the NFL ($62.1 million). If the Dolphins pass on the tag, Gesicki should cash in — even if he’s more of a glorified wide receiver than a three-down tight end. Spotrac estimates Gesicki’s average annual salary on a multi-year deal would be around $11 million, which would make him the NFL’s sixth-highest-paid tight end.

Possible landing spots for Gesicki

Beyond the Dolphins, teams with a need at tight end include the Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Commanders, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, and New York Jets — who play in Gesicki’s home state of New Jersey.

What they’re saying

“I’m going to be completely honest with you, I haven’t thought about it this season. I kind of just let it all play out because it doesn’t matter how much I think about it or don’t think about it, it’s not really up to me. I just kind of go about my business and kind of let everything fall where it may. I do appreciate this organization. I’m happy where I’m at, and I like the guys, like the locker room, like the coaches. I can go on and on about all the things I like. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.” — Mike Gesicki, January 2022

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