“No,” Gesicki responded when asked if he’s reached out to the Dolphins (h/t Joe Schad of The Palm Beach Post). “I mean, I think I just kind of like I said, I just kind of go about my business. Whatever happens, happens. And I’ve been here for five years now. I love it here. I’m happy to be here. And if I stay here, which I mean, I would assume, I would. I’m excited to continue to be here, make plays and you know, help the team win and move forward and all that kind of stuff for the rest of season.”
Gesicki is coming off his best game of the season, with the tight end hauling in six catches for 69 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Vikings. However, the 27-year-old has been limited to only 101 yards in his other five appearances, with receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle commanding the bulk of the targets. Despite his inconsistent offensive role, Gesicki made it clear that he hasn’t asked for a trade.
“Nah,” Gesicki said when asked if he’s requested a trade.” I mean, I think these coaches also understand what I’m capable of. And I think, you know, Sunday was a good, you know, showing of that just, you know, a couple of opportunities to go out there and make plays. And that was my thing. I don’t know when the opportunity is gonna come, but I gotta keep preparing as if they’re gonna come.”
More trade notes from around the NFL…
The Seahawks have made cornerback Sidney Jones available, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. While the organization would prefer to keep the veteran, they’re willing to listen to offers with Jones buried on the depth chart. Michael Jackson and Tariq Woolen are holding down the fort as the outside cornerbacks, and Tre Brown will eventually work his way back into the lineup. Jones is playing on a one-year deal following a career season in 2021. In 16 games (11 starts) for Seattle, the cornerback compiled 66 tackles and 10 passes defended.
Speaking of Seattle, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times can’t envision the Seahawks making a significant move at the trade deadline. While Seattle has made deadline moves in the past, the team currently seems focused on building their core from within. The team also has little cap space to work with, making a big splash unlikely.
Following his benching in Week 5, it was reported that Commanders cornerback William Jacksoncould be looking for a fresh start elsewhere. However, the defensive back denied reports that he wants to be traded (per ESPN’s John Keim on Twitter). Jackson was ruled out for Week 6 with a back injury, and it sounds like he’s unlikely to play in Week 7. Jackson is attached to a three-year, $40.5MM deal, but teams have expressed interest ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline.
The Panthers were planning to cut Robbie Anderson before they found a taker in the Cardinals, reports ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). Considering the prospect of just eating his salary, the Panthers made out well in the deal, securing a 2024 sixth-round pick and a 2025 seventh-round pick from Arizona.
Expectations were high for the Dolphins’ passing attack this season, in no small part due to the arrivals of wideout Tyreek Hilland head coach Mike McDaniel. A familiar face in the team’s offense has taken a back seat, however, leading to his name being included in trade talk.
Tight end Mike Gesickihas gone from one of the unit’s focal points to a rotational member this season. The 27-year-old has made just 15 catches through six weeks in 2022, totaling 170 yards and three touchdowns. His proficiency as a receiver – and, more importantly, his lack thereof as a blocker – led to expectations that he could see a reduced workload within McDaniel’s system.
In late August, it was reported that Miami was open to the possibility of trading Gesicki, a further reflection of his presumed fall down the pecking order behind Hill and 2021 first-rounder Jaylen Waddle. Not much appears to have changed on that front; ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that the Dolphins remain willing to field trade offers on Gesicki. He does add, on the other hand, that Miami is not actively shopping the Penn State alum at this time.
Complicating matters is the fact that Gesicki is playing on the franchise tag this season, valued in his case at $10.9MM. That figure didn’t stop a pair of teams from calling about his availability before the regular season began, but would represent a difficult expense for an acquiring to justify given his underwhelming production so far. As Fowler points out, many around the league remain perplexed by Gesicki’s lack of usage given the team’s one-year investment in him.
Long-term contract talks never seemed to be in the picture this offseason, leaving Gesicki’s 2023 destination a question mark to begin with. Whether he can up his receiving numbers – especially with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa expected to be back for Week 7 – will be worth watching in the short term, given the effect it could have on his trade value.
Grier said the Dolphins are not shopping their tagged tight end, via NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe, but added that two teams called about his availability (Twitter link). Gesicki’s tag fully guarantees him $10.9MM, though it does not mandate that salary come from the Dolphins.
Tag-and-trade sequences happen fairly frequently, and they have been known to come late in the summer. Jadeveon Clowney was moved just before the 2019 deadline, and Yannick Ngakoue was traded twice during his 2020 tagged year — before the season and during it. Gesicki may not await the same fate, but this year has been an adjustment for the fifth-year pass catcher.
Mike McDaniel’s heavily Shanahan-influenced scheme will require more Gesicki blocking than he is accustomed to, and the Penn State product called his role in this offense a new position. Since tagging Gesicki, the Dolphins also loaded up at receiver by trading for Tyreek Hill and signing Cedrick Wilson Jr. That duo, along with Jaylen Waddle, is expected to be ahead of Gesicki in Miami’s aerial pecking order. That will mark a change, after Gesicki put together back-to-back 700-plus-yard seasons. He finished as the Dolphins’ second-leading pass catcher, behind Waddle, in 2021.
Keeping Gesicki to aid Tua Tagovailoa in what might be a make-or-break year, considering the other Dolphins QB-related headlines to emerge in recent months, would seem wise for Miami. But Grier has also not been shy to make deals if the right offer surfaces. In his first year in power, Grier dealt away Ryan Tannehill, Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick. The Fitzpatrick swap also came about because of a positional issue. This year’s trade deadline is Nov. 1.
The Dolphins have brought up the franchise-tagged tight end’s name as a potential trade chip, according to Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed. A former second-round pick going into his fifth season, Gesicki has pieced together back-to-back 700-plus-yard receiving seasons as one of Tua Tagovailoa‘s top targets. He finished second behind only Waddle in Dolphins receiving yards (780) in 2021, but Kyed notes the Dolphins have been willing to discuss their starting tight end in deals.
Although the Dolphins tagged Gesicki, the offseason negotiations brought the lowest-key talks of any of this year’s tagged players. Gesicki, 26, signed his tender early, but notable talks are not believed to have occurred. He is attached to the same guaranteed $10.9MM salary as Dalton Schultz, but the Cowboys tight end is expected to play a major role — if not a bigger one, as Dallas is battling multiple major receiver injuries — in his team’s offense.
McDaniel’s offense will involve more blocking than Gesicki is used to, and the Palm Beach Post’s Hal Habib wonders if the Dolphins tagged the former second-round pick as a means to collect assets when the right trade offer emerges. The Dolphins left Gesicki in last week’s preseason game longer than many starters, having him play the entire first half. That could also be due to Gesicki learning what he has called a new position.
The Dolphins tagged Gesicki before signing Wilson and knowing if Hill would be available. The Hill market did not materialize untilDavante Adams‘ $28MM-per-year Raiders extension came to pass March 18. Miami acquired the Kansas City star March 23. Miami also has veteran Durham Smythe and 2021 third-round pick Hunter Long on its roster. Neither has shown nearly as much as Gesicki in the passing game, however, and dealing away one of Tagovailoa’s favorite targets in what could be a make-or-break season for the starting quarterback would be a gamble.
If Gesicki truly is available, this would be an interesting use of the tag, which has kept an eight-figure cap hold on the Dolphins’ payroll for five-plus months. A season in which Gesicki sees fewer targets could also depress his value, though his 2020 and ’21 outings would still point to the young pass catcher being coveted next year in free agency. This could be an interesting subplot to follow ahead of Week 1 and perhaps up to the midseason trade deadline.
Jake Bailey signed an extension with the Patriots earlier this month, and we’re now getting details on the punter’s new deal. According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter), Bailey earned a four-year pact worth $13.125MM, with $6.275MM of that deal fully guaranteed.
Bailey got a raise on his 2022 salary, jumping from $3.986MM to $4.5MM. The move lowered his cap number, however, reducing it from $4.058MM to $2.025MM. Next year, Bailey’s cap number will increase to $3.415MM before going to $3.79MM in both 2024 and 2025.
“I’m just so happy and blessed I get a few more years here,” Bailey said last week (via the team’s website). “I was just kind of on the phone with my agent and I was like, ‘Alright, that’s it. We’re good with that,’ and it wasn’t like a crazy big moment. But it was fine and a huge milestone in my life and just thankful God put me in this position.”
The 2019 fifth-round pick out of Stanford has spent his entire career in New England, including a 2020 campaign where he earned first-team All-Pro honors.
More notes out of the AFC East…
While you should never put too much stock into preseason depth charts, Volin points out on Twitter that the Patriots‘ initial depth chart shows that the team is committing to Trent Brown at left tackle and Isaiah Wynn at right tackle. The two offensive lineman are swapping positions following a 2021 campaign that mostly saw Wynn at LT and Brown at RT.
Mike Gesicki leads the Dolphins in receptions since the beginning of the 2019 campaign, but the tight end may find himself as a secondary target for Tua Tagovailoa in 2022. As Adam H. Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com points out, Gesicki will likely be fourth in line for targets behind wide receiver Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Cedrick Wilson. As new head coach Mike McDaniel noted, the offense won’t try to force the ball to the tight end, but there will surely be situations where the team is counting on Gesicki to contribute. “It’s something that we’ve talked to the tight ends about at length — it comes in waves,” McDaniel told Beasley. “There have been practices where he’s got seven or eight … he had more targets maybe Practice 7 — it was 7 or 8 — than Tyreek had. It’s just one of those things that you try in the game of football, especially when you are a pass receiver at any position, to really focus on what you can control. You can’t control the defenses. You can’t control the progression. You can’t control the pass rush.”
Veteran defensive end Shaq Lawson is back in Buffalo after re-joining the organization this offseason. Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic expects Lawson to ultimately make the Bills 53-man roster, but he’s fallen behind the likes of A.J. Epenesa and Boogie Basham on the depth chart and will likely serve as the team’s fifth defensive end. The 28-year-old started seven games for the Jets in 2021, collecting 23 tackles and one sack.
If Tre’Davious White isn’t ready for the start of the regular season, then there’s a good chance the Bills will be starting a rookie cornerback opposite Dane Jackson. As Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports writes, first-round rookie Kaiir Elam would be a natural choice, but he’s struggled during training camp. As a result, sixth-round rookie Christian Benford could find himself in the starting lineup come Week 1.
For the first time since 2018, the summer franchise tag deadline day did not produce an extension. The past three years brought deadline-day deals for Taylor Moton, Derrick Henry, Chris Jones, Grady Jarrett and Robbie Gould. None of the four teams who still had tagged players could hammer out a deal Friday, however.
Bengals safety Jessie Bates, Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki and Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz remain attached to their franchise tag prices ($12.9MM, $16.7MM, $10.9MM, $10.9MM, respectively). They are prevented from negotiating with their teams again until the 2022 season ends. The four teams can apply second franchise tags to these players in 2023, at 120% of their 2022 tag prices.
The Chiefs and Brown came closest to a deal. Although the Chiefs reached an extension agreement with Frank Clark upon trading a first-round pick and change for him in 2019, they postponed Brown negotiations last year. When the sides came to the table, after Brown earned a Pro Bowl nod for his first season as a full-time left tackle, the fifth-year blocker had a new agent and wanted a deal that made him the highest-paid offensive lineman. The Chiefs were willing to go there, but on their terms. What amounts to a dummy year in the contract’s final season led Brown to turn down a six-year, $139MM extension offer. Although failed tag talks often lead to separations the following year, it would surprise if the Chiefs — considering the compensation they parted with for Brown in 2021 — did not make a strong effort to extend Brown in 2023.
Less clarity emerged with the other three tag negotiations, but the Bengals‘ five-year offer and reported guarantee of around $17MM — which would be a fringe top-10 mark at the safety position — did not bring Bates to sign an extension. The fifth-year defender wanted to be the NFL’s highest-paid safety, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). Minkah Fitzpatrick moved that number to $18.2MM per year this summer. Bates expressed interest in re-signing with the Bengals in 2021, after he posted a strong 2020 season. Following a less impactful 2021 regular season, Bates rebounded with critical playoff contributions. The Bengals, who drafted safety Daxton Hillin Round 1 and have Vonn Bell under contract for one more season, may be willing to let Bates test free agency a year from now. But Bell’s contract-year status may well keep Bates in the fold beyond 2022.
A lot of Schultz news came out this offseason, including a late rumor of a possible deal coming to fruition. But scant optimism about a Cowboys long-term deal surfaced. Dallas cuffed its top tight end and, with Schultz having signed his tender, he can be fined daily for not reporting to training camp. Although Schultz left OTAs to make a point about negotiations, he showed for Cowboys minicamp. The sides, however, appeared far apart. Ahead of Friday’s deadline, they had not negotiated in weeks. Contract length was an issue for Schultz’s camp. While Dak Prescott‘s contract is an exception, the Cowboys prefer five- or six-year extensions. No deadline-day magic occurred, and Schultz may become a bigger part of Dallas’ offense, with the team having traded Amari Cooper shortly after tagging its tight end.
It does not sound like substantial Gesicki-Dolphins talks occurred this offseason. Though, Gesicki was interested in an extension. After the former second-round pick broke through for a 703-yard, six-touchdown 2020 season, the team did not make an extension ahead of his 2021 contract year a priority. Gesicki then posted a 780-yard slate. That was enough to move Miami to keep the Penn State product off the free agent market. Gesicki should play a key part in a critical Tua Tagovailoa season, but with Tyreek Hill‘s $30MM-per-year contract now on Miami’s books, other Dolphins skill players may be affected.
Bates and Brown have not signed their tenders. This would allow each to skip training camp without being fined. The 2020 CBA prevents teams from waiving fines for holdouts, pointing to Gesicki and Schultz showing up. Bates is not expected to attend camp, and Brown hinted at staying away for a while. The Bengals and Chiefs’ tagged performers have until Nov. 15 to sign their tenders, or they cannot play in 2022. Multiple defensive linemen (Sean Gilbert and Dan Williams, the latter a Chiefs tag recipient) followed through with skipping seasons after being tagged in the late 1990s, but Le’Veon Bell (2018) is the only player to pass on a guaranteed salary by skipping a full season while attached to the tag this century.
As the deadline for franchise tag recipients continues to draw near, there has been a noteworthy (if unsurprising) development regarding the two tight ends yet to sign a long-term deal. In a pair of tweets, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that neither Dalton Schultznor Mike Gesickiare expected to reach agreement with their respective teams on a new contract.
No talks have taken place between Schultz and the Cowboys in weeks, so it was reported days ago that nothing was considered to be imminent in terms of a last-minute deal being finalized. While the door had been opened to the possibility of such a scenario materializing, this news is in line with what had been expected throughout the offseason.
Schultz wouldn’t have been on the tag radar after his first two seasons in Dallas. The former fourth-rounder had totalled just 13 scoreless receptions by the start of the 2020 season. Since then, however, he has received 193 targets, accrued 1,423 yards and racked up 12 scores. Dallas has obviously not been able to put together a multi-year offer close enough to Schultz’s perceived value, however.
In Gesicki’s case, it was likewise reported recently that an extension was unlikely at this late stage of the negotiating window. The 26-year-old entered the league with more pedigree compared to Schultz from his college days, and has been a consistent contributor in Miami’s passing game for longer. He posted new career highs in receptions (73) and yards (780) in 2021, continuing his ascending production.
“I am absolutely open to negotiation, but it’s not really up to me,” he said in April, when asked about contract talks. “If they reach out, my agent will be listening.” Not much progress has been made since then, as the Dolphins seem prepared to let 2022 play out with Gesicki perhaps falling down the pecking order in a pass-catching corps which now includes Tyreek Hill.
By remaining on the tag – which, unlike Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.and Bengals safety Jessie Bates, both Schultz and Gesicki have signed – the pair will each earn $10.93MM. That could constitute considerable value at a position whose market has been elevated by deals such as the one signed by fellow tag recipient DavidNjoku, who has less of a track record of success. A second tag next season would cost roughly $13.12MM, which still wouldn’t rank in the top-five at the position. Attention will now turn to Brown and Bates to see if last-minute deals can be reached with their respective teams.
This year has brought a better success rate for tags leading to extensions, at least compared to the past two offseasons. Four of the eight players given the tag in March have signed extensions. That betters the 2020 (2-for-14) and 2021 (3-for-9) success rates. While Chris Godwin (Buccaneers), Cam Robinson (Jaguars), David Njoku (Browns) and Davante Adams (Packers; traded to Raiders) agreed to deals, the rest of this year’s group remains unsigned.
Here is how that quartet stands entering deadline week:
This looks like the most contentious of this year’s remaining tag situations. Bates, 25, discussed his disappointment about the lack of a Bengals extension ahead of his 2021 contract year and admitted not receiving a long-term deal affected him during the season. The former second-round pick, who rebounded with a postseason run featuring two interceptions and six pass deflections, voiced opposition to the franchise tag in February. Absent a long-term deal, the fifth-year defender is not expected to show for Bengals training camp. Bates, who has not signed his franchise tender, is tied to a $12.9MM tag figure. The Bengals hold $15.8MM in cap space.
This situation has not produced as many headlines as Bates’ over the past year, but the Chiefs are a few days away from going to year-to-year with their left tackle. Brown is tied to a $16.7MM tag but is pursuing a deal that makes him the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman. Trent Williams, whom the Chiefs pursued in free agency last year before pivoting to a Brown trade, currently holds that title ($23MM per year). The league has three $20MM-AAV O-linemen (Williams, David Bakhtiari and Laremy Tunsil). For Brown to commit to a long-term deal, he would need to be the fourth. The Chiefs hold $14.3MM in cap space.
In moving from a right tackle the Ravens did not have in their long-term plans to a Chiefs Pro Bowler given the tag, Brown has shown a knack for maximizing his value. Like Bates, Brown has not signed his franchise tender, giving him the option of skipping training camp free of charge. The Chiefs have just one O-lineman, Joe Thuney, signed to a notable veteran deal. It would seem the franchise is prepared to give Brown a big-ticket extension. If the 26-year-old blocker is intent on surpassing Williams’ deal, it will test the Chiefs’ commitment.
The Dolphins might be eyeing a rental season here. Gesicki signed his franchise tender and has expressed interest in a long-term Miami deal. But the team may want to see more from the former second-round pick. Less than a week before the deadline, the sides have not done much work on an extension. Njoku’s $14.2MM-per-year pact can reasonably be viewed as a Gesicki target, with the Dolphins tight end producing two seasons — yardage-wise — that outpaced Njoku’s best year. Even before Njoku’s extension, the Dolphins and their tagged tight end were not close on a re-up. The Dolphins hold $16.5MM in cap space.
Mike McDaniel reshaped the Dolphins’ offense this offseason, and on just a $10.9MM franchise tender, the Penn State product makes sense as a rental piece. This represents a crucial year for Tua Tagovailoa, and the Dolphins kept one of his top targets off the market. Gesicki, 26, could join this year’s other tagged tight end as a 2023 free agent. It would cost the Dolphins 120% of this year’s tight end tag figure to cuff Gesicki again in 2023.
The Cowboys frequently hammer out extensions, preferring deals that last at least five years. That preference has impacted the Schultz talks, with the Njoku contract undoubtedly factoring into this equation as well. Throughout the offseason, the Cowboys and Schultz have not been close on an agreement. Schultz, 26, did not finish OTAs with the team, citing dissatisfaction with his contract talks for leaving. He later circled back for mandatory minicamp. Despite little momentum emerging for much of the offseason, these negotiations still have a chance of producing an agreement ahead of Friday’s deadline. The Cowboys hold $22.5MM in cap space; Schultz has signed his tender.
Unlike Gesicki’s situation, the tight end tag talks in Dallas have continued throughout the offseason. The $10.9MM payment obviously represents a major raise for the former fourth-round pick, but as Blake Jarwin‘s injury issues have shown, players can lose value quickly. The Cowboys paid Jarwin ahead of his career-altering injuries, and Schultz has been a far more effective weapon, as evidenced by his 808-yard, eight-touchdown 2021 season. The Cowboys were wise to keep him off this year’s market, with Amari Cooper being traded and Michael Gallup unlikely to start the season on time.
If Schultz and the Cowboys cannot agree on terms by Friday, his status as a key Dak Prescott target stands to position the Stanford alum for a big payday as a 2023 UFA. Then again, the Cowboys have re-tagged multiple players — Prescott and DeMarcus Lawrence — over the past five years.
The Dolphins and franchise-tagged tight end Mike Gesicki “have not really engaged” in contract talks, as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reports (video link). Gesicki, who signed the franchise tender back in March, is set to earn $10.9MM in 2022.
In April, Gesicki offered a few comments on the matter that made it sound as if Miami was not prepared to commit to a long-term contract for its 2018 second-rounder, even though the club is willing to keep him in the fold on an eight-figure salary for the upcoming season. “I am absolutely open to negotiation, but it’s not really up to me,” he said. “If they reach out, my agent will be listening.”
Since those comments were made, the Browns and fellow franchise-tagged TE David Njokuagreed to an extension that features an average annual value just shy of $14MM, making Njoku a top-five tight end in terms of AAV. Gesicki, who has thus far been the more productive of the two players, will doubtlessly be trying to top that mark, as well as Njoku’s $28MM in practical guarantees.
The deadline for tagged players to sign multi-year deals is July 15. Garafolo acknowledges that deadlines spur action, and that a deal can theoretically come together over the next few days. However, given that there have been virtually no negotiations to this point, it seems as if player and team will be revisiting the situation in 2023. At that time, Gesicki could well be the top tight end on the free agent market, particularly if Cowboys and TE Dalton Schultz — another player who has been slapped with the franchise tag — can work out an extension before July 15.
If the Dolphins want to hit Gesicki with a second franchise tag next offseason to prevent him from getting to the open market, they would be committing to a salary of roughly $13.08MM — 120% of his 2022 pay — which is still below Njoku’s AAV and which would seem to be a reasonable price point for a player like Gesicki, assuming he continues performing at the level he has established over the past several seasons. If, as Gesicki suggests, the team is the party that has been reluctant to engage in contract discussions, that could be one of the primary reasons why.
From 2020-21, the Penn State product has averaged a 63/741.5/4 triple-slash despite a less-than-ideal quarterback situation. While QB Tua Tagovailoa is still a major question mark, the ‘Fins have invested heavily on the offensive side of the ball this year, bringing in the likes of WR Tyreek Hill, LT Terron Armstead, and RBs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert, among others. With improved O-line play and a stronger cast of skill position players, Tagovailoa could be well-positioned to live up to his potential in his third professional season, which should improve Gesicki’s stock.
The Dolphins already know they will have tight end Mike Gesickiunder contract for 2022, after he signed his franchise tender last month. As Pro Football Network’s Adam Beasley reports (in a pair of tweets), however, it doesn’t appear as though the two sides are “particularly close on a [long-term] deal”.
Gesicki, 26, was named as a prime candidate to be tagged this offseason. He has established himself as a key piece of the team’s offense, particularly in the past two years. Since 2020, the former second-rounder has posted 126 catches for 1,483 yards and eight touchdowns. That earned him a one-year deal worth $10.93MM as a result of the tag.
“It’s obviously not the end-all be-all goal” Gesicki said. “It’s definitely more team friendly than player friendly. When asked about the possibility of a long-term extension, he said, “I am absolutely open to negotiation, but it’s not really up to me… If they reach out, my agent will be listening.”
There was some concern Gesicki could file a grievance with the Dolphins with respect to being tagged as a tight end. Given that he is used much more like a slot receiver, many thought he would seek to negotiate a figure between the TE and WR values. Instead, both he and the Dolphins have until the summer to agree on a new deal. If one can’t be reached, Miami will move forward this season evaluating how Gesicki fits into an offense which now includes Tyreek Hill as a competition for targets.