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What the Njoku Deal Means for Mike Gesicki

The Cleveland Browns made David Njoku the fifth-highest paid tight end in the NFL with a deal that might set the bar for Mike Gesicki

The Miami Dolphins have until July 15 to sign tight end Mike Gesicki to a long-term contract extension, otherwise he'll play the 2022 season under his franchise tag number of just over $10.9 million.

He was one of three tight ends in the same situation until the Cleveland Browns signed David Njoku on Friday to a four-year contract worth around $56.8 million, per multiple reports.

With the new deal, Njoku became the fifth-highest-paid tight end based on annual average, behind only George Kittle, Travis Kelce, Dallas Goedert and Mark Andrews.

The Njoku contract provides a pretty good starting point when we're looking at the kind of long-term deal that would make Gesicki (and his agent) satisfied — assuming that's something the Dolphins have in their plans.

GESICKI AMONG NFL TIGHT ENDS

The top four tight ends on the money list maybe belong in the upper echelon of players at the position, along with Darren Waller of the Raiders, but an argument can be made that Gesicki belongs at or near the top of the second tier.

His numbers certainly compare favorably to those of Njoku, who was a first-round pick in the 2017 draft.

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Because of injuries, Njoku has played only one more NFL game than Gesicki, a 2018 second-round pick. Gesicki has the edge in career receptions (199-148) and receiving yards (2255-1754), but Njoku has the advantage in average per catch (11.9-11.3) and touchdowns (15-13).

At the very least, Gesicki is on a par with Njoku, which suggests the Dolphins are looking at $14 million a year for a long-term.

GESICKI AND HIS FUTURE WITH THE DOLPHINS

Of course, the question is whether the Dolphins will want to go in that direction.

Gesicki clearly is the most gifted tight end on the roster at this time, but the team is returning all five of its players at the position from last year.

The team re-signed Durham Smythe as a free agent in the offseason and drafted Hunter Long in the third round in 2021, and there's also Adam Shaheen and Cethan Carter.

Gesicki is more of a receiving specialist, which doesn't make him ideal of the new run-oriented scheme that new head coach Mike McDaniel has brought with him, but he's very good at his specialty.

All that said, it remains unclear how aggressively the Dolphins have pursued the idea of signing Gesicki to a long-term contract. If they're serious about it, they now have an even better idea of how much that might cost.