Bengals signing former Patriots tight end

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The Cincinnati Bengals are signing former New England Patriots tight end Mike Gesicki.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was first to report that Gesicki has agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $3.25 million with the Bengals. Ja’Marr Chase then posted a message welcoming Gesicki to Cincinnati, also indicating he would be helping him work on his “griddy” touchdown celebration.

NFL teams are able to negotiate with pending free agents during the two-day legal tampering period leading up to Wednesday’s start of free agency. Signings for those players won’t be official until then.

Gesicki spent 2023 with the Patriots, but began his career in Miami after the Dolphins made him a second-round pick in 2018. He played four seasons there under his rookie deal and one with a franchise tag before moving on to New England.

The 28-year-old from New Jersey had only 29 catches for 244 yards and two touchdowns last season, but he had three consecutive seasons in 2019, 2020 and 2021 with 50 catches or more. The Bengals haven’t had a tight end with three 50-catch seasons on his resume since Jermaine Gresham in 2013.

Gesicki posted a career-high 73 catches for 780 yards (also a career-high) in 2021.

Cincinnati was in need of a tight end that could be impactful in the passing game. Last year, the Bengals signed Irv Smith, Jr., to a one-year deal to become the starting tight end, but injuries and struggles with consistency in that role limited him to 12 games. The Bengals relied more on Drew Sample and Tanner Hudson in 2023 than most anticipated.

Sample signed a three-year extension, the Bengals announced Monday, but Hudson still is set to become a free agent Wednesday afternoon when the new league calendar begins.

Schefter reported Tuesday that Smith is signing a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.

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