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Should the Jaguars Explore a Trade For Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki?

Should the Jaguars consider looking into a pre-Week 1 trade for another pass-catcher?

The Jacksonville Jaguars are seemingly always a match when pass-catchers are made available. Whether it be a running back with third-down ability, a deep threat veteran receiver or a flex tight end, the Jaguars are always near the top of the list of potential destinations when a pass-catcher hits the market. 

But should this be the case for Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki in the event he is made available for trade? Perhaps, but the Jaguars' current offensive ecosystem suggests perhaps not.

Gesicki was given the franchise-tag this offseason after catching 126 passes for 1,483 yards (11.8 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns. There are no questions about his ability as a pass-catcher from the tight end position, with Gesicki often offering the traits a jumbo slot receiver would present to an offense. 

But there are questions about Gesicki's blocking ability. The scouting report on him leaving Penn State was that of a gifted pass-catcher but poor blocker, a trend that has continued to the NFL. With new Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel placing emphasis on run-blocking from his tight ends, Gesicki could be an odd man out.

"The Dolphins, of course, would not cut Gesicki, who’s playing on a fully guaranteed franchise tag this season, but a trade isn’t out of the question. In fact, the Dolphins have “brought up” Gesicki’s name to other teams, a league source told PFF," PFF's Doug Kyed wrote. That doesn’t mean anything will transpire, but Miami has been willing to engage in conversations.

On top of that, Gesicki is set to make $10.931 million in 2022, and he played the entire first half of Saturday’s preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders, staying in the game long after other offensive starters, such as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, tight end Durham Smythe and others, had departed.

And that’s because Gesicki has admitted he’s learning a new position this season. He previously was a big receiver. Now he’s a tight end, and in new head coach Mike McDaniel's offense, he’ll be expected to block.

With Gesicki's one-year contract coming with a hefty price tag, it is hard to imagine it would take a high draft pick to trade for him. Teams in need of a pass-catching tight end like the Green Bay Packers should be calling the Dolphins. But are the Jaguars one of those teams? 

When looking at the construction of the Jaguars' roster and skill players, it is hard to think what the roster needs now is a player like Gesicki. He would present an upgrade over Evan Engram and Dan Arnold as a pass-catcher, but he is built in the same mold as them. None of the three tight ends offers much as a blocker, and having them on the field shows the offense's hand to the defense. 

If the Jaguars are missing a tight end style on the roster, it is that of a balanced tight end who can both block and make an impact as a pass-catcher. There aren't many tight ends like that for a reason, hence why half of the Jaguars' projected top-four tight ends are pure pass-catchers and the other two are blockers in Chris Manhertz and Luke Farrell.

The Jaguars are already paying Engram a hefty one-year deal to be their pass-catching tight end. It wouldn't make much sense to add virtually the same type of player, even if Gesicki has been slightly more productive in recent seasons.

“I like our tight end room. A mix of youth and some old guys in there. You take Dan (Arnold) and Evan (Engram), two more athletic route runner tight ends that could possibly create a matchup here and they’re matched with Chris (Manhertz) and his ability to block and Luke (Farrell) doing the same thing," Doug Pederson said on Tuesday.

"It’s a good room, and it’s a versatile room. It doesn’t keep you locked into certain things offensively that you want to get done. I’m comfortable with using tight ends in my career, having played with a bunch of tight ends and coaching them. It’s a good group.”

There is also the fact the Jaguars have gotten their best receiver production in training camp and the preseason from the slot. Wide receiver Christian Kirk is much better inside than outside, erasing one potential spot for Gesicki on the field. Zay Jones has also been productive from the slot at times, while Jamal Agnew provides good depth there.

The Jaguars need pass-catching help, but they need it in the form of outside receivers who can win downfield and outside the hashes. Gesicki would offer mismatch issues, but it would be the same mismatch they are already seeing from the other pieces of their offense.

Jacksonville has been proactive about surrounding Trevor Lawrence with talent over the last year, and Gesicki would be another piece of that equation. But he is also eerily similar to the other pieces they already have on the roster, and far too different from the pieces they are missing.