Mike Gesicki

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Gesicki, Lawson

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.

Franchise Tag Roundup: Bengals, Chiefs, Cowboys, Dolphins Table Talks To 2023

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 Hill in 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.

The Browns (David Njoku), Buccaneers (Chris Godwin), Jaguars (Cam Robinson) and Packers (Davante Adams) saw their tagged players land extensions. Adams’ money, of course, came from the Raiders, who gave their new All-Pro weapon a five-year, $140MM extension — a deal that impacted Hill’s Chiefs talks and one that has two lofty nonguaranteed salaries in its final two years — after Adams voiced a preference to reunite with Derek Carr out west. Njoku becoming the NFL’s fourth-highest-paid tight end, after not matching either of Gesicki or Schultz’s best seasons, likely became an issue in the Cowboys and Dolphins’ respective negotiations.

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.

TEs Dalton Schultz, Mike Gesicki Expected To Play On Franchise Tags

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 Schultz nor Mike Gesicki are 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 David Njoku, 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.

Four Players Remain On Franchise Tag; Extension Deadline Friday

The teams that still have players tied to the franchise tag have until 3pm CT Friday to reach extension agreements with the tagged performers. Otherwise, those players will play the 2022 season on the tag.

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:

S Jessie Bates, Cincinnati Bengals

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.

Cincinnati has Vonn Bell on a $6MM-per-year deal, one that expires at season’s end, and used a first-round pick on safety Daxton Hill. The team has some notable players who become extension-eligible after 2022, notably Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins, and they may not be prepared to extend Bates on the level of Minkah Fitzpatrick ($18.2MM per year) or Jamal Adams ($17.5MM AAV). With the Bengals potentially eyeing Marcus Williams‘ five-year, $70MM Ravens deal, this impasse has created “bleak” negotiations leading up to the deadline.

The Bengals have taken care of homegrown defenders in the fairly recent past, giving both Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins two extensions and re-signing Dre Kirkpatrick in 2017. They also have let productive starters go, as evidenced by the departures of Andrew Whitworth, Kevin Zeitler, William Jackson and Carl Lawson. Zeitler signed a then-guard-record deal with the Browns in 2017; is Bates headed for free agency after a rental year?

T Orlando Brown Jr., Kansas City Chiefs

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.

The Chiefs gave up their 2021 first-round pick for Brown, in a deal that also sent a Ravens second-rounder to Kansas City. Brown hired an agent that did not have an NFL client at that point, seeking a representative without relationships with front offices. The former Ravens third-rounder delivered an ominous message to his current team last month. Addressing the AFC West arrivals of Chandler Jones, Khalil Mack and Randy Gregory, Brown said it is “not the year to go into the season with a backup left tackle.” The sides have begun talks, which was the Chiefs’ plan upon acquiring Brown in 2021. But these could, as many tag stalemates do, go up to the deadline.

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.

TE Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

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.

TE Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

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.

Dolphins, TE Mike Gesicki Unlikely To Agree To Extension?

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 Njoku agreed 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.

Dolphins, Mike Gesicki Not Close On Long-Term Deal

The Dolphins already know they will have tight end Mike Gesicki under 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.

Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki Signs Franchise Tender

Mike Gesicki is officially locked in for next season. The Dolphins tight end has inked his franchise tender, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter).

The tag value for tight ends is set at $10.93MM, though that positional label could have been problematic in Gesicki’s case. Rarely used as an in-line blocker, the former second rounder primarily lines up in the slot to maximize his skill set. As a result, the possibility existed for him to file a grievance to be listed as a receiver.

Gesicki may have been willing to tolerate the TE tag because he’s anticipating a long-term deal with the Dolphins. The team sides could still ink an extension over the next few months.

The 26-year-old was considered one of this year’s top candidates for the tag, given the increasing role he has taken on within the Dolphins’ offense over his career. In the past three seasons, he has totaled 177 catches, 2,053 yards and 13 touchdowns. He would have been one of the most sought-after TEs on the open market. Instead, he’ll be sticking around Miami for at least another season.


Cardinals, TE Zach Ertz Closing In On Deal

After acquiring tight end Zach Ertz in a trade with the Eagles in mid-October of last year, the Cardinals are finalizing a new multi-year deal for the nine-year veteran, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The three-year deal is set to keep the 31-year-old among the top-10 highest-paid tight ends in the NFL. 

Ertz is a three-time Pro Bowler who set the NFL-record for single-season receptions for a tight end in 2018 with 116 catches, which trailed only Saints’ receiver Michael Thomas for the league lead among all pass-catchers. Ertz was consistently productive in Philadelphia, recording five-straight seasons with at least 800 receiving yards.

After taking a back seat role to the Eagles’ younger tight end Dallas Goedert, the Cardinals made the move to acquire Ertz and watched him thrive in the new system. Ertz’s 11 games in Arizona in 2021 showed far more production than the 11 games he played in Philadelphia the year prior. With wide receivers Christian Kirk and A.J. Green set to hit the free agent market this week, locking down their tight end was a must.

The three-year deal will be worth $31.65MM with a guaranteed amount of $17.5MM. The annual average value of $10.55MM ranks 10th among NFL tight ends, just below David Njoku, Mike Gesicki, and Dalton Schultz, who got franchise tagged for $10.93MM. With this deal Ertz is now off the crowded tight end market, along with the three who were tagged. Remaining options for those looking for tight ends are C.J. Uzomah, Robert Tonyan, Evan Engram, and Will Dissly.

Dolphins Use Franchise Tag On Mike Gesicki

Another tight end has been named his team’s franchise player. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the Dolphins are tagging Mike Gesicki

The 26-year-old was considered one of this year’s top candidates for the tag, given the increasing role he has taken on within the Dolphins’ offense over his career. In the past three seasons, he has totalled 177 catches, 2,053 yards and 13 touchdowns. He would have been one of the most sought-after TEs on the open market.

The tag value for tight ends is set at $10.93MM, though that positional label could be problematic in Gesicki’s case. Rarely used as an in-line blocker, the former second rounder primarily lines up in the slot to maximize his skillset. As a result, the possibility exists for him to file a grievance to be listed as a receiver, an issue some had thought to be likely in the weeks leading up to today’s tag deadline. A compromise paying Gesicki somewhere in between the TE and WR values (the latter being $18.42MM) is also an option.

With that said, the tag is widely seen as a placeholder for a long-term extension. If the two sides can agree on a new pact, the issue of tag value would become moot. Meanwhile, this news points further to the Dolphins’ other big-name free agent, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, hitting the open market. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, recently indicated he is preparing for free agency, though remaining in Miami is on the table (video link). The 28-year-old had 41 tackles and nine sacks in 2021. At a minimum, though, the Dolphins have secured one of their key offensive players for the immediate future.

Dolphins GM Talks Watson, Payton/Brady Rumors, Howard

THURSDAY: Set to pursue a media gig, Payton indicated to veteran NFL reporter Jason Cole (via Twitter) he would “probably not” have been interested in this Dolphins setup had he been given the chance to speak with the team. Once Payton lands with a network, the subject of his next coaching stop figures to come up fairly frequently.

WEDNESDAY: It’s already been a busy offseason for the Dolphins. The team hired a new head coach in Mike McDaniel, dealt with the fallout of former HC Brian Flores‘ lawsuit, and brushed off continued rumors regarding their quarterback position.

While speaking with reporters today, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier addressed many of the major story lines surrounding the organization. Most notably, the GM acknowledged that “the door is shut” on acquiring Deshaun Watson from the Texans. The organization has been continually connected to Watson over the past year, but the team’s decision makers seem focused on moving forward with Tua Tagovailoa.

Grier also addressed a recent report that indicated the organization pursued Sean Payton as their head coach and Tom Brady as their starting quarterback. While the GM discussed the team’s brief pursuit of the coach (which we detail below), he said the Dolphins “never had a conversation” with the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

The Dolphins general manager provided a handful of additional thoughts on the state of the Dolphins, which we’ve compiled below (h/t to Cameron Wolfe of NFL.com):

More on the Dolphins’ commitment to Tagovailoa as their starting quarterback:

“Mike and the staff have come in to do a lot of work, studied a lot of Tua and they feel good about his developmental upside, what he can be and then the fit in the offense. I think we’re good with Tua.”

On the Dolphins pursuit of Payton:

“[We called the Saints] to see if he is done with football or does he want to coach. … They told us no, they weren’t going to grant permission. So that was it.

“We stopped to see if he would have interest at all. So, I don’t even know if he would have interest.”

On cornerback Xavien Howard, who is seeking a new contract following back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons:

“My anticipation is that Xavien will be here next year. We made the promise to him — after the season, we’ll make the adjustment … just to be truthful with him and do it, that’s the right thing to do.”

On impending free agents Mike Gesicki and Emmanuel Ogbah:

“Mike knows how I feel about him. I drafted him and have had separate conversations with Mike. We’ve had limited talks with his agents.”

“As it got to the end of the season with free agency, both of those guys get to this point, they want to be able to see what their options are. They both told us they want to be back in Miami. They both love it here, they want to be back. We’ll see what happens.”

On Flores’ class-action lawsuit against the NFL and three teams (including the Dolphins):

“(At) some point when it’s done [i can discuss], maybe in the future, but I can’t comment on this right now.