MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Mike Gesicki is getting a big raise from the Miami Dolphins. What remains unclear is if he'll be getting a longer deal.
The Dolphins on Tuesday placed the franchise tag for the coming season on Gesicki, ensuring that the tight end will be back for 2022 instead of hitting the free agent market.
The NFL set the tag number for tight ends at $10.931 million for the season. Gesicki had made a total of $6.6 million in his first four seasons with the Dolphins, and it remains possible that he and the team could still work out a longer-term extension between now and mid-July.
By committing the nearly $11 million to Gesicki, the Dolphins' available cap space right now is somewhere around $52 million. That remains fluid and could rise depending on other personnel moves that may be coming. Free agency officially begins March 16.
The Dolphins revealed two other moves Tuesday, saying they have tendered a pair of exclusive rights free agents in running back Salvon Ahmed and defensive back Elijah Campbell. Such deals — one year at the league minimum — can be offered to players with fewer than three accrued seasons and an expired contract and keeps those players from negotiating with other teams.
Gesicki had 73 catches last season, fourth-most in the NFL among tight ends and second-most on the team behind Jaylen Waddle's 106. He has been extremely dependable, playing in 64 of a possible 65 games since getting taken by Miami in the second round of the 2018 draft. And his catch totals have gone up each season: His rookie total of 22 was followed by 51, then 53 and now 73.
"Mike knows how I feel about him," Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said last week at the NFL combine. "I drafted him."
It was not a surprise that the Dolphins used the tag on Gesicki. New head coach Mike McDaniel was speaking in current terms last week when asked about Gesicki, clearly indicating that he was figuring into his plans for the offense.
"We'll use him the way it's most appropriate for him," McDaniel said.
Gesicki said in January, as the Dolphins' season was ending, that he was not focusing on his contract status or the possibility of being tagged.
"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," he said at the time. "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."