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No. 1 Dolphins free agent must re-sign? Brian Hartline

The most important Dolphins free agent for the team this offseason? You could argue Randy Starks. Some believe it is Jake Long, although I totally disagree there. Other think Sean Smith, although I see him as very inconsistent and wonder how he'll react to getting paid.

Nope, I believe it's receiver Brian Hartline.

As I write in my column in Sunday's Miami Herald, the Dolphins cannot have a second consecutive season in which they lose wide receiver talent. They need to add at that position and, frankly, Hartline is a certainty while players such as Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings are not.

The fact is neither we nor the Dolphins know exactly what will become of Wallace and Jennings before free agency begins. Yes, they're slated to be UFAs. Yes, they would add talent to Miami's needy offense.

But we cannot be certain they'll be available because free agency doesn't begin until the middle of March. And teams have a window during which they can sign their own free agents. And most good teams don't lose their good players.

So no one knows if Wallace or Jennings will be availabe. The Dolphins do know Hartline is a good player and is available now. My column lets Hartline talk about his feelings on returning to Miami and how he'd feel if the Dolphins don't re-sign before the start of free agency.

Hartlne, by the way, agrees with me that Miami can't be losing WR talent and hoping to get better. 

“As a football guy, to get rid of your leading receiver in back-to-back years. I think that would be tough," he told me. "It’s tough to do. And I understand, they’re in a tough situation and I’m not in a position to say how to do it. I don’t do that. That’s not my job. But that’s hard to do as a franchise if you want to build something. If it costs a little more than you expected, well, that’s the nature of the NFL sometimes.”

A lot of fans often get caught up in the free agency trap of arguing about what a player is not. We all know Hartline is not a No. 1 receiver.

But good teams focus on what players are. Hartline is a good No. 2 wide receiver and if he's you're No. 3 you have a stellar WR corps.

What else is Hartline?

He can play any WR position because he knows them all. He's good in the locker room. He isn’t high-maintenance. Yes, he had one instance where he got frustrated with a coach who was asking him what he saw on the field and because he had already explained himself previously and still the ball wasn’t coming to him, Hartline shut down and simply didn’t talk.

But that was one passing moment this year. He doesn’t jack up the quarterback on the sideline. He doesn’t threaten to punch coaches if they don’t get him the ball, as one previous Dolphins receiver did in 2010.

“I was wrong but you have to let how to handle it,” Hartline said. “I understand now that  I was acting hard-headed because it was a game situation. I was frustrated. It happened once because it’s a passionate sport. But it won’t happen again. It was wrong because you need to learn how to handle it. I didn’t blow up on anybody but wasn’t helping anybody so I’ve learned from that.”

Hartline wants to be signed by the time free agency opens. The ball is in Miami's court. Once free agency begins the ball is in Hartline's court.

“You know, I tell you what, if I do go elsewhere, I’ll tell you what I told Jeff [Ireland]: If we get to free agency, as much as you guys interview me, I’m going to be interviewing you," Hartline said. "Like we’re 7-9. How do you see us getting better? I want to know, too. I want to win. I need to win. That’s what I’d do with other teams, too. I’m going to interview them as much as they want to interview me.

“I want to see myself buying into wherever I see myself at – here, there, wherever. Once I buy in, I’m all in. I want don’t want to be doubting people. I know there are trusts that build over time. But as much as they’re buying into me, I’m buying into you.”

Whatever happens -- whether Miami signs Hartline before free agency or not -- the receiver understands the next couple of months will be busy.

“It’s going to hectic," he said. 





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I hear ya CommonSense. I think there are two strong sides to this debate and neither side is going to budge so I'll give it a rest. I stated my opinion and I stand by it. :)

Craig M....

I agree....These aren't the Ravens of the past few years....and I too think Manning will rip them a new one....but with the Manning...you have a play off proven QB...and a playoff Proven D...that was good enough to win with the likes of Tebow pulling the trigger....

I also have to ADMIT that Flacco was dissapointing to say he least....I am a Flacco fan....but that TD pass to Boldin was one of the worst passes I have EVER SEEN....I understand he was throwing it up to let Bolden make a play....but sheesh....

Maybe the tape told him that that QB can't make a play on the ball...and that is why he took such a chance with the ball....


Sorry man, I don't get your distaste for Luck. To do what he did in his rookie season is pretty incredible. I heard you say something about he's no good at coming back in games. He was involved in something like 7 come from behind games this year. Even Ed Reed has to tip his cap for Luck yesterday, as to how smart and mature he is. I hope to God you're not giving the credit for Luck's success in College to Harbaugh.

If it wasn't for the seasons that RGIII and Wilson this year, I believe that Luck would be a slam dunk for ROY. You're hanging onto that 54% completion a little too tight. You need to go back and look at rookie seasons from Aikman, Elway and P. Manning and compare what Luck did this year.

If you're tired of all the hype surrounding the kid, I'd suggest turning ESPN off.

Phins 78....

you're betting with Nolan...lol....

Posted by: Kris

:D You s.o.b.! I knew you would catch that. (shhhhhhhh, I'm not betting as much as hoping, if you couldn't tell I'm not a big Pete Carroll fan and always wish the worst for him. If that happens to effect Wilsons career so be it. He shouldn't have played for the jerk!)


I posted yesterday, what was Shanahan's real option, take RG3 out only to replace him with a less accomplished rookie?

Shanahan's real short-sightedness was not having a vet 2nd string qb. However, I still give him slight pass on that because even Shanahan did not forsee making the playoffs with RG3 his first season. If he had, there would have been a vet 2nd string backup.

This isnt Shanahan's first trip around the block as an hc, and playoff hc at that. Bloggers here are feeding too much into the press and thier "overblown coverage" of this matter. The only real issue in my mind is Shanny should have had a vet 2nd string backup.

Still, I dont think even he forcasted a playoff trip RG3's 1st season.


I actually want ATL to win....because then I would never have to read "how many playoff games has Matt Ryan won".....

But I am becomming a closet fan of Wilson...he is my new Mallett.....

So I am torn....

Whichever team wins will be my SB pick to come out of the NFC....

Guy's I believe Seattle Beats Atlanta and beats them soundly.
JMHO, But like Mark inToronto, WTF do I know.

Maybe SB "hope" is a better way to put it...

I did the math, with signing bonus it is over 10 million a year for Sean Smith.

I can't even laugh it's so ridiculous. Let him go to other teams and see what they offer him. This is outrageous.

Miami 2008, Redskins/Colts 2012. The lesson is that you just don't go to a SB Year 1. Teams need to learn how to win in the Playoffs (if they haven't been there in a while). All these teams have been here before recently (except Seattle, who is the underdog).

So don't get mad if we make the Playoffs in 2013 and get bounced. It will take some time to get the experience needed to make a legitimate run.


Your 'new Mallett'.....LOL. Come on!!...LOL. Some guys just never let go of old habits.


The fault of the 'skins was not having a vet QB ready to come in and takeover. I believe Rex Grossman is still on the team but probably wasn't dressed. I didn't like the strategy to take Cousins in the same draft to start with and it's clear that it backfired on them, not having someone ready to come in and take over.

It goes back to my conversation with Mark from a couple of weeks ago. You always need to prepare for the 'worst case scenario'. It cost Pitt a playoff spot this year too. But it looks good on Shanahan because he thinks he's smarter than everybody else.

Speaking of Mallett, with so many teams looking for young QBs I would be shocked if Balichick didn't turn a trade and pick up a couple of picks for this years draft. Damn it I hate him but I respect the hell out of that guy.

See ya Sean Smith....if that's what he wants, to continue to be mediocre....bye bye!!


It'll be interesting to see if there's a market for Mallett. I've heard rumours of Cleveland but does that make sense after they drafted Weedon last year. I'm hearing TB isn't in love with Freeman any more. Lots of team needing help, it'll be interesting, in a year that isn't deep in QBs in the draft, if he does in fact get traded somewhere. Maybe Moore ends up in NE with Hartline and they get to wave their SB rings at us next year....LOL.




Why do you think I have distaste for Luck just because he hasnt given me enough to be sold on him?

Take away the 7 4th qtr comebacks and statiscally he hasnt done much the other rookie qb's have done. 23 tds, 18 picks. I say with a recievivings corps as good as Luck and Tannehill throwing the exact same "volume of Passes" as Anrew Luck his numbers are easily the same.

Luck threw far more, and I mean far more than any other rookie qb. Tell you what research eachj of the rookie qb stats and evaluate them all side by side.

Until you do this you'll never understand what Im saying. Heck, just Rissell Wilson alone passed for 3 more tds than Luck on 393 attempts to Luck's 627 attempts.

Dude, that's nearly half as many passing attempt and threw 3 more(23tds to 26tds) than Andrew Luck.


" Bloggers here are feeding too much into the press and thier "overblown coverage" of this matter."

COME YG be fair. I was saying yesterday during the game that he should have pulled RG3. I was right in here saying it was a stupid move and can prove it. I don't need the press to tell me something I could see with my own two eyes.

I was in here saying "RG3 can't plant on his back leg and his throws are off target". I was saying they need to take him out, I said it more than once, and it was before the media went nuts today. Don't dumb down peoples opinions by saying they're media induced.

And you say an unaccomplished rookie? RG3 was 1-4 without Garcon so apparently his accomplishments only go as far as a veteran wr and his busted up knee can take him. Cousins proved he can play in the league after 1 week with the starters and posting the numbers he did when the other team knew he was a pocket guy and wouldn't run as much as rg3. Cousins was perfectly capable of holding that lead and maybe even adding to it. That is why Shannahan, the coach you keep saying is so smart, made him the backup QB.

Graig,Finfan78, YG4E And myself were having the same conversation last night.

yg, yOU KNOW AS WELL As I do Belicheat will trade him to some Idiots residing either in Cleveland,Oakland,Dallas or even Miami for two 1st round picks, Krafts people are..... Well there "KRAFTY".. LOL
Posted by: ( . ) ( . ) MaGee | January 07, 2013 at 12:29 AM

Who in the hell is balichick? I meant Belichick

Wait a sec. Do you mean to tell me this blog's unanimous pick for Rookie of the Year isn't Ryan Tannehill? WHAT IN CARNATION!!!

Do you love when I disagree with him or debate him as well? If so read every other post besides that one dimwit. Who are you? Which name do you normally post under? Jackass.

Why do you think I have distaste for Luck just because he hasnt given me enough to be sold on him?

Take away the 7 4th qtr comebacks and statiscally he hasnt done much the other rookie qb's have done...

Posted by: Yesterday's Gone 4Ever! | January 07, 2013 at 01:08 PM

With all due respect YG, 7 4th-QTR comebacks is a pretty good stat.

Phins78 @ 1:08pm,

Totally agree. I saw it yesterday too. There's no question that RGIII was a 'shell' of his former self yesterday and just wasn't getting it done. As 'Phin fans, we'd all have been mad as Hell if Philbin had left Tannehill in the game, potentially causing long term harm.

It's not accurate to try and portray people's feelings towards this as 'media driven', YG. I think the bloggers on here can think for themselves (well most of them, anyways).


YG4E, Great stat, Your doing your homework, Your thoughts on Seatle/Atlanta game?

SHawna Smith can eat a d i c k if he wants some sort of mega deal. I rather bring Vontae back then to give Smith a top5 CB deal. He isnt even close to being a playmaker a CB. I rather Asante Samuel right now.

Whatever happens in the Seattle/Atlanta game, ONE THING you can be SURE OF, that there has YET to be a conversation on ANY Atlanta blog saying, "too bad Miami didn't take Ryan, we COULDA had JAKE LONG!!!!"

Just sayin'.

WHDP, I believe that draft was in 2005 and for 2nd and 3rd picks to be out of the league 8 years later is not all that uncommon. However, those guys were effective in their opportunities considering where they were drafted. Not everyone can be stars...



PHINS 78 COME TO MIND AND ( . ) ( . ).............


Posted by: Phins78 | January 07, 2013 at 01:01 PM

Dont know if you saw it, but lastnight I posted on this matter.

I posted I would not be surprised if Belichik drafts Matt Barkley bottom 1st rd. Mallet's rookie contract expires in two seasons and Brady shows no signs of slowing, Especially with Gronk now beong beastily.

So when Mallet's contract expires, it looks like Brady's still starter. Shock everyone, draft Barkley, and Barkley sits behind brady for 4yrs. At the present rate looks like Brady has at least that much left especially with the young offensive weapons he has.

Once he drafts Barkley, Mallets traded because in two years he walks for nothing. Bellichik most likely doesnt resign him to a big payday without seeing how he performs as a starter on the playing field. Im sure after 4yrs Mallet wants to prove he can start somewhere.

Barkley's perfect to sit behind Brady for 4 more years.

Clue, I'd Rather have Ammande Asante(The actor) instead of Smith.
Again JMHO.


Not everyone can be stars...

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | January 07, 2013 at 01:17 PM

Isn't that the quote hanging above Jeff Ireland's desk?

Hartline isn't a great yards after catch guy, but he's a solid route runner with great hands and an ability to get open. In my opinion he was the highest functioning offensive guy the Dolphins had on the roster this season. Losing him means the Dolphins will have to rely on luck in free agency or sacrifice another draft pick. They absolutely can't afford to lose him.

"I didn't like the strategy to take Cousins in the same draft to start with and it's clear that it backfired on them, not having someone ready to come in and take over."

I feel like I'm in the twilight zone here.

Was that not Kirk Cousins who came in after barely having any reps and threw for 329 yards and two tds? He threw an early interception and then rallied and played a great game posting a 70% completion rating.

He was picked over Grossman to be the teams backup QB by Shannahan the genius and this is the guy that some are worried couldn't lead the team for 2 quarters in a game in which they had a lead?!

My head is spinning.


Haha DC, good point. Though I hate that debate. If the Dolphins took Ryan he would probably have turned into Carr, imo. Also I'll wait on saying the guy is great until he wins a playoff game. He only has 2 great WRs, best TE ever (could be debate, but in the mix), and a good running game.

YG, they had Grossman, but he was inactive and also sucks. Cousins has played pretty good, but obviously he isn't as mobile as RG3. Thats the problem with the running QB, it is very hard to find a good one and ALMOST impossible to have a backup that runs the same system.


Interesting theory. I can see some merit in that. On;y thing I don't love about it is once you draft Barkley, Mallet's trade value goes down. Teams will then know that the Pats need to move Mallett and they aren't exactly in the driver's seat at that point.

It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out. Probably a good gamble for BB, but I'm not yet convinced having a young kid sit as the third his rookie year and the second this year, all of a sudden increases his trade value, regardless if he sits behind Brady or not.

Sean Smith was all over twitter in the 1st Q yesterday until I told him to shut up because he was humiliating himself, highlighting that he was not in teh playoffs.

YG ur a child if you say media induced. Everyone in the entire nation except ShanahanVader was saying after the 2nd score that RGIII should come out. Not only could not run but it was his back leg so he could not plant to throw either. Now his shoulder's probably hurt too.

I know people will disagree with me & that's okay BUT I believe we're more than a year away from being a good team. It's going to take a very good FA & very good draft & then another very good 2014 FA & another very good draft to be in a position to contend. The draft is WAY more important. Sure FA is nice to add a couple of pieces but you build your team (or don't build your team) through he draft. Quite simply--Ireland & his team can't afford to f#ck this year. With 11 picks he has to hit on AT LEAST three starters. If not then he shouldn't be an NFL GM. Period.

I believe it's in a HC's 3rd season that a team starts to take on the personality of their coach. Yes we've seen exceptions like with Harbaugh but we're not the Niners. We're a team that just completed year one of a major rebuilding effort.

yg I didn't see it but yep, that's Belichick for you and I wouldn't be surprised in the least. Pioli was obviously just along for the ride when with the Pats.

Phins 78, My guess is Shannahan is "Old School" Type of coach, If a Player says he can play He's gonna play him,But risking a franchise QB in his first play-off game is stupid at best and reckless..
But again..
WTF do I know??


I think you are talking about ONE game that Cousins played well in and wasn't it against the Eagles, a team that everyone was lighting up this year.

I'm not saying that Cousins shouldn't have come into the game yesterday, as a better option than a beat up RGIII. I'm saying I thought it was a mistake on the 'skins part to take Cousins in the 4th round, when they had other needs on the team and I'm saying has their been a capable vet QB as backup yesterday, I think the move would have been made much more easily than it was.

Jesus Christ is YG stupid. New champion of stupidity on this blog.

Um....Cousins threw for 400 yards and the team scored about 50 points the one time he played earlier this year.


To get out of cellar:

Step 1.

If drafting #12, take Pass rusher Woerner, if not, trade down extra 2nd rd pick, Then draft Eiffert.

Step 2.

Draft 2 wr's. Hartline's going to slot. Bess stays on team.

Step 3.

Sign Greg Jennings

Short and sweet ALoco, any moves after this good or not, we're still a much improved team.

Sean "Gangsta4evah" Smith was all over twitter yesterday drawing attention to the fact that he himself was not in the playoffs.

Heard Mallett's name being bandied about by KC people. You think KC would really do another deal with the devil after the Cassel debacle cost everyone their jobs. Reid will find his guy. That's the beauty of him. He won't take anyone's sloppy 2nds

Shawn Smith also states how he doesnt really enjoy watching football on Twiter, he'll ask stupid questions like "Whos playing" and "Whats the score", how can you give this guy a big deal and he's just not into football?

Agreed Craig, I was scratching my head after the pick as well. And Cousins beat Cleveland. Their passing defense was 25th in the league. Point taken. But I still would have went with the guy who had two legs to stand on insted of the guy who only had one. :)

WHDP, I believe that draft was in 2005 and for 2nd and 3rd picks to be out of the league 8 years later is not all that uncommon. However, those guys were effective in their opportunities considering where they were drafted. Not everyone can be stars...

My point is that Saban just came from college so he recruited, played against, & coached some of the best players in the country while at LSU. Surely he could have done better than Matt Roth who didn't even play in the SEC???

I can't blast him that much for Crowder. He knew Crowder had a history of injuries & he rolled the dice. Pretty good player who played with a lot of heart but unfortunately his body betrayed him.




Personally I'd look to FA to add another CB. Smith is nothing special and we have some money to play with. I'd rather get a known commodity than some guy we don't know what he'll be like via the draft.

Just not convinced people can say 'this secondary is nothing without Sean Smith'. I just don't see it.

Ummmmm the cellar? We can't get down there, the Bills and Jets are taking up too much space.

YGE, Thouhts on if Ireland can pick the right people?, past record says NO.


Yeah no question. I'm not arguing that point. If it was me, Cousins would have started the second half.

That's all on Shanahan and while I hope the kid is alright it would serve Shanahan right if the injury ends up being serious.


Sean Smith better save his dollars if he thinks someone will be stupid enough to pay him $10M a season. And this is coming from his biggest fan here ...

He woudl be lucky to get half of that and even then a lot of people here would be furious ... not me though ...

Yeah, on Smith -- he was obviously not in the gym or on a practice field either, as he should have been if he cared about winning.

gotta love Sean "Gangsta4evah" Smith spending all day on twitter humiliating himself.

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