Miami Dolphins Sign Former Chiefs TE, Travis Kelce’s Understudy

Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Jody Fortson

Getty Jody Fortson after the catch.

The Miami Dolphins have signed former Kansas City Chiefs tight end Jody Fortson, according to his agent Katz Brothers Sports. Fortson missed last season with a shoulder injury but will look for an opportunity to play with the Dolphins given their minimal production at the position. Fortson has learned from arguably the best tight end in NFL history in Travis Kelce, so that could be a good sign that there’s talent there.

Jonnu Smith reached an agreement with the Dolphins on a two-year deal worth up to $10 million. The expectation is for Smith to be the main tight end in an offense that didn’t feature one too often in 2023.

It’s unsurprising to see the Dolphins sign another tight end given their lack of production at the position last season. Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network viewed the tight end position as a massive need this offseason, writing the following:

“Ever since Mike McDaniel took over the Miami Dolphins in 2022, the tight end position has effectively been a black hole on the field.

“But as the Dolphins in general — and Tua Tagovailoa in particular — look to take another step forward, it’s time for McDaniel to take a page from his old boss’ book.”

When Mike McDaniel was with the San Francisco 49ers, they had elite tight end play with George Kittle. They might not be able to replicate that due to the type of player Kittle is, but any production is better than what the Dolphins got last season.

Dolphins Have Filled Their Offseason Need

The former Kansas City Chiefs tight end didn’t play much, posting 14 catches for 155 yards and four touchdowns in two seasons. However, when he did play, he put up elite blocking numbers. He received 85.8 and 73.9 grades from Pro Football Focus in 2021 and 2022, according to Dolphins Wire. That’s a promising sign with the Miami Dolphins looking to land a block-first tight end.

The Dolphins used Durham Smythe as their main tight end last season. He had an average year, but was often not a focus in the offense. He had 35 receptions for 366 yards and didn’t have a touchdown.

Fortson’s ability to block will add another threat to a Dolphins defense that was one of the best in football.

Dolphins Having an Impressive Free Agency

With limited money, the Miami Dolphins have done well in free agency. Landing Fortson is the latest example of that.

Despite the lack of play from him in his career, the Dolphins had that clear need for a blocker at the position and got exactly that. The philosophy of signing cheap, athletic tight ends is ideal for Miami as they look to find one that can fit their offense.

The Dolphins scored 27.9 points per game, good for third in the NFL. They also averaged 1.5 rushing touchdowns per game, which ranked third as well.

Everything shows that this offense can be the best in football when they’re playing to the top of their game. However, when the schedule got tougher, the Dolphins often struggled to move the football.

Not having a blocking tight end was often an issue in these games and in the red zone. Look for that to change in 2024.

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