Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe are best friends five years together on the Miami Dolphins.
The two tight ends entered the organization together as members of the same 2018 draft class. They grew up as pros together in the same position group and have stayed together through two coaching changes and more offensive coordinator changes.
Still, after one season under coach Mike McDaniel and his offense, Smythe was considered a capable blocker, while Gesicki, a gifted pass-catcher lacking blocking ability, was not. Smythe received a contract extension while Gesicki was allowed walks in free agency.
But of all the teams Gesicki could have gone to, he’s heading to the division rival New England Patriots. And Smythe took some playful jabs at Gesicki for making the move in a Tuesday web conference call with reporters.
“I thought it was a direct hit on me,” Smythe snapped. “Because if he doesn’t stay here, he would try to attack me in some way, and this is probably one of the more direct ways to do that.
“Obviously, he had 31 other options and he chose the one that disgusts me the most – and I think it was straight for me. Good for him. We see him twice a year. It’s exciting and these will be some fun games.”
Smythe now becomes the longest running back on the current Dolphins roster. Last offseason, after wide receiver DeVante Parker was traded — to the Patriots — Smythe and Gesicki were tied for the mark, entering their fifth consecutive season with the team.
They had differing opinions on how to break that tie, with Gesicki a second-round pick in that 2018 draft, the Dolphins’ last under former coach Adam Gase, and Smythe a fourth-round pick.
“Last season, Mike and I joked that I was the longest-tenured offensive player because I signed my contract, my rookie contract, before he did, even though he was drafted before me,” Smythe said. “So there were some conflicting opinions on who was the longest offensive player.”
While Gesicki had 231 receptions, 2,617 yards and 18 touchdowns in those five seasons — compared to Smythe’s 88 receptions, 809 yards and three touchdowns — Smythe had the early career edge, 56 to 31.
“I tell people all the time the Dolphins made a mistake in 2018 by taking him second, me fourth,” Smythe joked. “And I tell him that all the time. There’s nothing I wouldn’t tell him right, and I’m sure he’d probably tell me similar things.
“We still talk every day and he makes the trips here. I’m sure I’ll get a couple up there in the coming weeks. We’re as close as ever.”
Regardless of Gesicki’s presence, Smythe looks forward to staying with the Dolphins, now under contract through 2025.
“He’s home,” Smythe said. “I have lived here for five years. It’s very exciting just to know that I have some value here and that I’ll be here for the next two years.”
Smythe survived the Dolphins’ cut of tight ends from Year 1 to Year 2 under McDaniel, with Gesicki gone, Hunter Long traded and Cethan Carter released. He also withstood the changes from Gase to Brian Flores to McDaniel as head coach. His offensive coordinator, Frank Smith, will be the same for a second straight for the first time in his career. It started with Dowell Loggains as OC under Gase, Chad O’Shea in 2019, Chan Gailey in 2020, a George Godsey-Eric Studesville combination in 2021 before McDaniel came in with Smith.
“The NFL is really a game of adapt or die,” Smythe said. “Whether it’s the same head coach, the same offensive coordinator, a different one, things are going to change every year. You’re going to have to improve your stuff every year and you’re going to have to improve your stuff every year.”
Smythe is just one of three tight ends on the Dolphins roster as the team begins offseason workouts. It’s him, free agent signing Eric Saubert and 2022 rookie Tanner Conner.
“With just bodies in general,” Smythe said, “we’re obviously going to have to add to our room in the next few weeks or months. Obviously, everybody understands that part of it.”
The Dolphins are likely to clear a tight end by the end of the week. Smythe said he doesn’t keep up with as many prospects now that he’s as far removed from the college game and the draft process as he is.