Dolphins' Jody Fortson called 2024 minicamp standout.

Getty New Miami Dolphins tight end Jody Fortson impressed at practices this spring.

Quietly, the Miami Dolphins upgraded their tight end room around 2023 starter Durham Smythe this offseason. Signing veteran dual threat Jonnu Smith and former Kansas City Chiefs red zone threat Jody Fortson.

The latter appears to have turned heads after an impressive performance at OTAs and minicamp.

“The Dolphins signed Jonnu Smith to provide a receiving threat at tight end, but Fortson has stood out during spring practices,” ESPN beat reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques relayed on June 24.

“He has a wide catch radius and has flashed the ability to pick up yardage after the catch,” the Dolphins media member went on. Acknowledging that the former Chiefs tight end still has a “challenging road to a meaningful workload” in 2024.

“The early returns on Fortson say he will be able to contribute when called upon,” Louis-Jacques concluded — despite what he described as a “plethora of pass-catchers” to compete with in Miami.

Jody Fortson Is Coming off Lost Campaign Due to Shoulder Surgery Last Summer

Fortson did not play a single snap in 2023. His season lost before it ever began due to a shoulder injury that required surgery last summer.

Before that ailment occurred, the tight end voiced personal plans for a heightened role in the Chiefs offense. And after, Fortson vowed the NFL had not seen the last of him.

“As always I’ll give you my absolute best to be the best that I can possibly be,” Fortson wrote on his Instagram story after a successful surgery. “GOD willing I’ll be back doing what I love to do, we know that in all things GOD works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Later, in the same post, he added that he was “down but NOT out.” Stating: “This just some more concrete that the rose has to grow through.”

On his career, Fortson has never achieved double-digit receptions during a single season, or a yardage total greater than 108. He has caught four total touchdowns — and the 6-foot-4 target will always be a red zone weapon for a quarterback — but we’ll see if the 28-year-old can earn a more consistent role with the Dolphins.

Dolphins Have Set up Tua Tagovailoa With Full Complement of Offensive Pieces in 2024

As contract talks rage on, the Dolphins front office should know in their hearts that they’ve set up Tua Tagovailoa to succeed in 2024.

Not only is Tagovailoa paired with one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL — in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle — but he’s also got Odell Beckham Jr., three capable tight ends, two new rookies (Malik Washington and Tahj Washington) to compete with Braxton Berrios for the WR4 job, and a stacked running back room that might be the fastest and most explosive group in the sport.

NFL Network insider Jeff Darlington scaled back his optimism on the idea of a Tagovailoa extension occurring prior to Week 1 on June 25.

“Right now, the Dolphins are not offering the contract that is the market value,” Darlington reported (via Sun Sentinel beat writer David Furones). “Based on my conversations, they are not in the Jared Goff and Trevor Lawrence ballpark.”

Of course, perhaps waiting will sort out this debate once and for all.

If Tagovailoa doesn’t succeed with this group of playmakers around him, he’s probably not worth the commitment. And if he does, the Dolphins will be happy to pay the piper after a long playoff run.

Waiting might cost Miami a little more money long-term, but such a key financial decision could be worth a few extra million per year. So long as Tagovailoa is willing to prove himself one last time.

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