For the second time in three years, the Patriots are signing a high-profile free agent tight end
It’s not quite signing the two top tight ends in free agency within 24 hours of each other in 2021, but for the second time in three years the Patriots are signing one of the top free agent tight ends on the market. on Friday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the team has agreed to a deal with former Dolphins tight end Mike Gesiciki.
According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Gesicki will be getting a one-year deal with the Patriots. The contract is worth up to $9 million.
Gesicki, 27, spent the first five seasons of his career with the Miami Dolphins, who took him in the second round in the 2018 NFL Draft. In that time he caught 231 passes for 2,617 yards and 18 touchdowns. He had a career year in 2021, with 73 catches for 780 yards. In his career, he’s only missed one game, which came in 2020.
Bill Belichick has spoken highly of the 6-foot-6, 250 pound tight end in the past. He’s been asked about him quite a bit too, with the Patriots facing him twice a year throughout his career.
“He’s a hard guy to cover. Long. He’s a good, crafty route runner,” Belichick said of him this past December. “He’s slick, but he can get down the field. Very good hands, makes some acrobatic catches. Has enough quickness to separate. That’s another hard guy to cover on third down, well on any down. But when you talk about those possession downs, he’s effective.”
“He’s got good receiving skills. He’s really, I would say, more of a big receiver than a true tight end, but he functions a little bit in that spot,” Belichick said in 2020. “He’s got good quickness, obviously good length, good hands and instinctive receiver that knows how to get open and can make good catches in tight coverage with his length and his hands.”
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – AUGUST 20: Mike Gesicki #88 of the Miami Dolphins heads upfield after making a catch during the second quarter of the preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Belichick isn’t the only Patriots coach familiar with Gesicki. New offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien recruited Gesicki to Penn State when he was the head coach of the Nittany Lions from 2012-2013 (although left for the Houston Texans job before Gesicki freshman season in Happy Valley in 2014).
In New England, Gesicki joins Hunter Henry at the top of the Patriots tight end depth chart. O’Brien’s offenses have embraced two tight end sets in the past, and given Gesicki’s formational versatility (he’s played at least 100 snaps each lined up inline, in the slot, and out wide in each of the last two seasons), there’s certainly ways the Patriots can have the two of them on the field together at the same time. The team also has Matt Sokol and Scotty Washington under contract.
Gesicki being on a one-year deal also shouldn’t rule out the Patriots taking a tight end in the draft, with both he and Henry in contract years. However, the focus now is probably more on players in later rounds.
The Patriots have now added two big pass-catchers for Mac Jones this week. Gesicki joins JuJu Smith-Schuster, who signed on Wednesday.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarthor via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.