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Dolphins’ Gesicki discusses contract situation, expanded blocking duties

Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) do drills during NFL football training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex in Hard Rock Stadium on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) do drills during NFL football training camp at Baptist Health Training Complex in Hard Rock Stadium on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

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The Dolphins know they value Mike Gesicki enough to pay him a lot of money this season. They’re apparently still figuring out whether they want to pay him a lot of money for many seasons.

The Dolphins and Gesicki’s representation reportedly had virtually no serious conversations about a longterm contract before the mid-July season, meaning Gesicki will play this season under the $10.9 million franchise tag and then become a free agent in March.

Did Gesicki ever believe a longterm contract might get done this summer?

“No,” he said Saturday.

Did that upset him?

“No,” he said.

Asked about playing on the franchise tag, he said: “It’s a business. The team will do what’s best for the team. You’ve got to go out and perform. There’s not much else to say. I’m not a big complainer about it, make a big deal about it.”

But then he said, perhaps in jest: “It seems like the guys that do [complain] get paid a lot of money, so maybe I should have.”

At some point, will he be paid as a top seven tight end?

“If I earn it, I think so,” he said. “That’s a long ways down the line and there’s a lot of work to put in, plays that need to be made and games to be won before that happens You get what you deserve in this league. You have to go out and earn it.”

Coach Mike McDaniel spoke with Gesicki about the team’s franchise tag decision.

“We tried to do 10 million reasons why he’s liked,” McDaniel said. “It’s important to talk to the player candidly. I talked to Mike earlier and said this is something that’s best for the Dolphins…. Everybody knows his ball skills and range are outstanding.”

Gesicki is one of the league’s best receiving tight ends; last season, he was fifth among tight ends in receptions with 73 and eighth in yards with 790. But Gesicki is considered in the bottom half of blockers at his position.

He was asked to pass block on just 11 of his 827 snaps last season. He blocked on 234 Dolphins’ rushing attempts, which was 34th among tight ends.

That, presumably, will change somewhat because tight ends in McDaniel’s offense must be well-rounded and must be competent blockers.

“Definitely a much higher emphasis on it for myself this season than any other season I’ve been here,” he said of blocking. “In order to make plays in the pass game in this offense, you have to make plays in the run game as well. Working on it every single day and continuing to improve. You’ve got to make the plays with pads on and ultimately on Sundays.”

Gesicki, who takes most of his snaps in the slot, likely will need to be in-line at times this season. On passing plays, he has been targeted sparingly in practice this past week.

“I don’t think I took one snap from a receiver stance today,” he said after Saturday’s practice. “It’s definitely different. I’m excited about it. I’m looking forward to another challenge, another opportunity.

“It’s my fifth year, fifth different offensive coordinator, could be six if you count last year’s interesting situation. You have a bunch of different guys calling plays. This is my third head coach. It’s been a whole bunch of stuff.”

Gesicki was among 50 tight ends who gathered in Nashville in June for an annual Tight End University, a summit among men who play the position in the NFL.

Gesicki picked the brain of George Kittle, the All Pro tight end who was coached by McDaniel in San Francisco.

“I was talking with him about the scheme and [John Embree, the tight ends coach who came over from the 49ers] and how he operates and all that stuff. Obviously, he is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league and you see what he gets off it in the pass game because of it. I’m going to keep working at it.”


Dolphins great Larry Csonka met with McDaniel before practice and addressed the team.

Among other things, “I talked about not going through the motions,” Csonka said of his speech to the players.

Csonka, who is moving from Alaska and Ohio to North Carolina, often comments during Dolphins games on Twitter. “I expect them to do really well,” he said of being a Dolphins fan. “It’s upsetting when they don’t.”

Several members of the 1972 undefeated Dolphins attended practice, including Larry Little, Mercury Morris and Dick Anderson.

▪ More than 2000 fans attended the first of eight practices open to the media.

“It’s great,” Gesicki said. “I said to Chris Grier when I was walking out here, I want them to be excited in January. Everybody’s fans are excited in July. Everyone is excited and optimistic.We’ve got to perform and give them something to cheer about; it’s been a while since we’ve done that.”

This story was originally published July 30, 2022 2:04 PM.

Dolphins’ Gesicki discusses contract situation, expanded blocking duties

Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.

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