The New England Patriots should look to improve their quality of pass catchers in 2023, and a Miami Dolphins’ free agent player makes a ton of sense. Two offseasons ago, the team invested heavily in free agency. This was the offseason after Tom Brady left, so perhaps Bill Belichick had a strong motive to keep the team as competitive as possible.
Now, two offseasons later, the Patriots have quite a bit of cap space and obvious needs on offense. Beyond likely needing two starting tackles, investing in the pass catchers would also be a wise move.
Over the last couple of offseasons, the team has added all of Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker, and Tyquan Thornton.
The team did bring in two big names at tight end in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Henry had a strong first year in New England but was not nearly as productive in year two. Smith has not had much impact in the receiving game, and arguments an be made for the team to cut both players.
If the Patriots were to cut Hunter Henry, they’d be hit with a $5,000,000 dead cap charge but would save $10,500,000 million.
Cutting smith would be much less doable as they’d have a dead cap charge of over $12,000,000 and only save about $4,500,000. I think a free agent of the Dolphins’ that the team should target is a better tight end than both Henry and Smith, and that’s Mike Gesicki, who was sparingly used in 2022 with Miami as the Shanahan-style offense the team runs calls for tight ends to excel at blocking, which is one thing that Gesicki does not.
In 2020 and 2021, Gesicki had over 700 yards in each season and had 570 yards in 2019. He’s caught 18 touchdowns over his career and is ridiculously athletic. He’d instantly slide in as the TE1 and perhaps would form a nice duo with Hunter Henry.
I do think that one of Henry or Smith are cut this offseason, but Henry is the better player, so I wonder if the Patriots would just rip the Band-Aid off with Smith’s contract seeing as they’d have to invest even more money at the position.