FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots has agreed to a one-year deal with the free agent tight end Mike Gesicki that would be worth up to $9 million, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Field Yates.
Gesicki will pair the veteran Hunter Henry to give the Patriots the tight end duo the team hoped it would get when it signed Henry and John Smith to big deals in free agency in 2021. The team traded Smith to Atlanta Falcons on Monday for a seventh-round draft pick.
Gesicki was recruited to Penn State by new Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in 2014 and committed to the school. But O’Brien soon left to become the coach of Houston Texans, while Gesicki remained at Penn State. Now they are together again in New England.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has long admired Gesicki, saying in recent years: “He’s a tough guy to cover. Long. Deceptive route runner. He can get down the field. Great hands. Makes some acrobatic catches, has enough speed to break away. He’s definitely, I would say, more of a big receiver than a true tight end, but he’s working a little bit in that area.”
Coming off a career season in 2021, Gesicki took a sharp statistical decline in 2022 because he wasn’t a hand-in-glove fit in new Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel’s offensive scheme, which required good blocking from the tight end. .
Gesicki, 27, caught just 32 passes for 362 yards — his lowest total in both categories since his rookie season in 2018 — while seeing action on just 451 offensive snaps after giving up his starting job to Durham Smythe late to training camp. By comparison, Gesicki caught 73 passes for 780 yards — both career highs — on 784 offensive snaps in 2021.
Gesicki played the 2022 season — his fifth with the Dolphins — at the franchise tag of $10.931 million.
His 6-foot-6 frame — and his ability to flex in the slot or out wide — presents a size advantage to defensive backs and a speed advantage to the linebackers covering him.
In five seasons, Gesicki, a second-round pick, had 231 receptions for 2,617 yards — an average of 11.3 yards per catch — and 18 touchdowns.
ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques and Matt Bowen contributed to this report.