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Mike Gesicki Stays in AFC East, Signs with Patriots

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Anyone who got excited about Hunter Henry’s potential after the Patriots traded TE Jonnu Smith to the Falcons earlier in the week got a rude awakening Friday when it was announced that the Patriots had agreed to terms with former Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki on a one-year deal worth a reported up to $9 million.

Gesicki was a fairly productive part of the Miami offense in 2019-2021, averaging just under 700 yards a year and scoring 13 touchdowns. But his role largely evaporated in 2022 with the arrival of WR Tyreek Hill and new head coach Mike McDaniel. Gesicki averaged over 700 snaps a season (roughly two-thirds of the Dolphins’ offensive snaps) the three years before 2022, then played only 478 (45.2%) last year, with target (52), reception (32) and yardage (362) totals that were all his lowest number since his rookie year in 2018.

In New England, he’ll be reunited with Bill O’Brien, who originally recruited Gesicki to play college ball at Penn State. He and Henry have the potential to form a potent 1-2 punch at the tight end position, but—vintage Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez aside — that rarely offers much fantasy prowess. It’s more likely those two cannibalize one another on end zone targets, rendering both low-upside TE2 options in fantasy.

The Patriots, who really needed a field-stretching option, have instead added Gesicki and JuJu Smith-Schuster this offseason to replace the departed Smith and Jakobi Meyers, all of which seem like lateral moves. They’ll need 2022 rookie Tyquan Thornton to take a step forward and/or Mac Jones to show more willingness to throw it deep for the offense to add that field-stretching element in 2023.

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