Pats add Mike Gesicki in hopes of reviving dual-TE offensive scheme
It worked in 2011 and beyond, and Bill O'Brien is making a bet it'll work again. PIC: Wilfredo Lee (AP)
One thing is for sure - Pats fans were making desperate pleas for more weapons. While they're still a far cry from an elite team, they've made some moves.
The New England Patriots made a significant move in their offseason acquisitions by signing former Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki, to a one-year, $9 million contract. The move is expected to bring a new element to the Pats' offense, with new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien calling the shots.
Gesicki, who is listed as a tight end, has a reputation for being more of a big receiver and not a traditional tight end. He presents a tough matchup for opposing defenses in the passing game and has the ability to stretch the field. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had previously commented on Gesicki's offensive acumen in their past meetings, calling him "a tough matchup in the passing game."
Although Gesicki had a down year in 2022, he's been a productive receiver in past seasons. In both 2020 and 2021, he had 700+ receiving yards, and over the last four seasons, racked up 18 touchdowns. In contrast, all Patriots tight ends combined have only scored 15 touchdowns during that span, even with Hunter Henry scoring nine times in 2021.
The Patriots are expected to pair Gesicki with Henry in an offense that will feature a heavy dose of two-tight end sets. Bill O'Brien, who had tremendous success with this type of offense during his last stint as the Patriots' OC in 2011, oversaw Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez combining for nearly 170 catches, 2,237 yards, and 24 touchdowns in the regular season, plus another 36 receptions for 446 yards and five scores in three playoff games.
This signing comes after the Patriots traded Jonnu Smith to Atlanta earlier in the week to shed his inflated salary. Smith was signed to a four-year, $50 million contract in the previous offseason but underperformed in his first year with the team. Jonnu was an acquisition that many Patriots fans were happy with, but his lack of production sent him out the door after two underwhelming years...he only brought in one receiving touchdown in his 30 games.
It will be interesting to see how O'Brien incorporates the TE core into his game plan. The WR room isn't set yet, but Mac Jones now has some serviceable weapons.