Maybe expectations shouldn't have been as high for Mike Gesicki when he was initially signed in free agency last year. But he was quickly touted as one of the best under-the-radar signings for any team in the offseason.
Because the pairing of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith didn't pan out how anyone wanted it, bringing in Gesicki seemed like an upgrade that could immediately pay off on the field. Henry could remain the TE1, and Gesicki could be thrust into becoming the jumbo receiver role and dominate in the red zone, something Smith could not do during his two seasons there.
That was the expectation, primarily since the former Dolphin was not known for superior blocking. But much of what we saw from him was similar to Smith's, and it just didn't seem like he was the right fit either.
Despite his better availability than Smith, Gesicki ended the 2023 season with similar production, recording 29 receptions for 244 yards and two touchdowns. It was his worst statistical season outside of his rookie year and was only an upgrade over what they had the previous season by one touchdown.
It's possible he fell victim to the stagnant offense that continued to deal with hurdles all season, from the quarterbacks to the play-calling; it wasn't exactly a perfect scenario for a new player to walk into.
However, his performance remains disappointing and becomes even more problematic now that the Patriots don't have a single tight end under contract for next season, bringing them back to their initial issues after Rob Gronkowski left the team.