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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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A 37 year old Ray Lewis is better than a 28 year old Karlos Dansby a true legend.

I'm tired of stupid cliches about cities. You do NOT have to eat crabcakes in Baltimore, nor do you HAVE to eat a cheesesteak in Philadelphia, or a bagel in New York or a Cuban Sandwich in Miami or any of the rest of than nonsense.

All those things are available in ANY large, diverse American city and we live in an era where they also ALL offer a wide variety of diverse ethnic and locavore options that far exceed the touristy pablum designed for the obese and stupid masses who know no better.

The 2007 Miami Dolphins were a terrible team with too many overpayed salaries & cap problems. So Jeff Ireland had to come in here & completely rebuild this team. Now his first 2 years drafting (or you should say Bill Parcells 1st 2 years here drafting) were terrible, but most of the draft picks since are current starters on the Dolphins now & they have been improoving with each season. This offseason will be the first offseason that Miami has the cap room & draft picks to turn this team into a playoff team & continued excellence.

..Kris..I feel stronlgy about improving our team. I think we all do. All we can do is offer our own opinions. To me, if our orginization is really trying to build from within. Hartline is the perfect example of a player who has ascended, not the opposite. The Phins came to him with a joke of an offer this October. Hartline did what he needed to do on the field to prove this offer meager.

Also..shouldn't we see what sort of contract Hartline is offered? I see numbers thrown around. Truthfully nobody has any idea what may be negotiated?

Also..The Td numbers get too much attention as why Hartline is not worthy of a "big contract" I agree we need more production, Hartline included. But what do you want?

Giving away Vontae for a second was dumb he's shutting down his guy right now.

“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"

That was good. Preach it Hartline !!!

...Congrats to Pouncey, and Wake for making the ALL PRO team...I'm going out on a limb here. But Wake leads the AFC in sacks next year..

Dolphins need to resign Hartline for #2 money. Jennings will be available from GB and we need to sign him in FA as our #1 as he is plug and play, brings valuable veteran leadership and can stretch the field. Need to use 1st round pick on the TE from Notre Dame if he comes out which I believe he will. These three weapons with Bess in the slot make the offense vastly more competitive than what we have now. And at the risk of loosing all credibility, I'd resign Ted Ginn if he hits the open market (possible) for minimal dollars and use him as in 4-5 receiver sets to further stretch the field - dude can still fly and has to be accounted for by defenses.

As for the other positions, I'd likely resign Reggie Bush and trade Daniel Thomas for whatever I could get. I'd pick up corner talent in the 2nd round of the draft and through FA as well. I'd only resign Jake Long if the money and injury waivers are worked out favorably. I like Jake but his injury history is a real concern. I'd also address a coverage linebacker for the defense to shore up TE coverages.

Anyway, this is where I'd start. Imperative that draft picks, particularly 1st and 2nd round be difference makers that are repeatedly in the Pro Bowl conversation.


Its unfair to judge Hartline on his time with Henne or Tannehill. He may be able to excel with a top QB.

Ray Lweis wearing the brace caused him to drop a sure INT. I can understand why Dansby was dropping them too.

No way DD not with Watt in the AFC .

Giving away Vontae for a second was dumb he's shutting down his guy right now.

Posted by: Clue | January 06, 2013 at 01:34 PM

What do ya expect from Irescum? lol


Agreed. On Hartline! He Is A Real Dolphin! So You Are Allowed To Be A Little Bias.

The Thing Is! Hartline Is Only Worth About $5-6Mil Max!

Now If We Do That! We Can Lose Out On Jennings Or Wallace! Which Are About The Same! Stat Wise! But Might Want More Money!!

To Me Ireland Wants To Fix The WR Position! But KNOWS It Is Not The Only Priority On The Team!!

2nd Rd Pick Wr
4th Rd Pick Wr

Hartline Counts As A FA WR!

And Only Salguero and Hartline! Think Hartline Is The Fins Top Priority!!

Dolphins Resign Priority

Jake Long
Sean Smith
Randy Starks
Brian Hartline

M&M and Bush, Will Not Be Back!! At Any Price!!


What happens if Ireland does the following:

Lets Hartline and Bush walk,

Resigns Long, Starks, and Smith to blockbuster deals,

Uses the 12th overall pick on the OL,

Does not sign any FA except a OG,

Only picks a WR and/or TE after the first two rounds?

Why take a 10+ Million dollar gamble on Long when he hasn't finished the last 2 seasons and has been declining? I see Long as a huge risk eating a large piece of the salary cap.

Dolphins Free Agent Priority

Adam Levitre (OG)
Jarrius Byrd (FS)
Daryl Smith (OLB)
Rey Maualuga (MLB)

AL & JB are Bills'!! And Would Be A Nice Hit!!

DS and RM!! Can Probably Be Had For What We Pay Dansby! Maybe Less!! And We Would Fix!! Multiple Positions!! Before The Draft!!

RM plays MLB, For The Bengals! So He Knows The Defense! Heck, RM Produced Almost The Exact Same Numbers As Dansby! Is Only 25! And Will Only Cost about $4-5 Mil A Season!

DS Fixes! The Most!! He Allows Us To Completely Get Rid Of Dansby! Allows Misi To Switch To DE!! And Will Add Veteran Leadership!! We Will Also Be Able To Get Him At A Good Price! Since He Is Coming Of A Injury!! DS is GREAT In Coverage! And Pretty Good At Blitzing!

Plus, Its A Fair Exchange! The Jags Got Chad Henne! We Will Get The Jags Best LB!

Getting D.Smith and R.Maualuga!

Also Allows The Fins! Extreme Flexibility! With The #12 Pick!!

The Fins Can Pick The BPA On Defense And Offense!! Even If Its A Guard!!


Doesn't Sound Bad To Dashi!! Easily Could Be The Fins O-Line For The Next 5-7 Years!! With The Left and Right Side! Switching Sides In 3-5 Years!!

Heck, Even Reggie Could Dance His Way To 2,000 Yds Behind That Line!!

T-Hill Will Have Tom Brady Time In The Pocket!!

Still Doesn't Mean!! Don't Sign Wr's!!

Hartline and a 2nd Round Pick! Will Do!

And Yes! TE Is Still A Huge Draft Priority!! We Need To Walk Away! With At Least 1 Of The Top 3 TE's!!

Armando, Hartline is important but not the #1 priority. Bush is the #1, Long #2 and Hartline #3 priority.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, this game would have been the Baltimore Colts playing at the Cleveland Browns.

Many of you are overlooking Egnew. Look for him to emerge next season.

Bush hasn't produced neither and his numbers have been unimpressive for your #1 RB. 5 games just over 100 combined yards and 2 games with 100 yds rushing. I guess if you can talk him into being a 3rd down back and getting the pay for that..then maybe. But he's not a #1 and there's the problem for the team.

When Shula retired, they should have just shut the team down for good and preserved the glory for good.

First of all, imo, Smith, not Hartline is more of a must resign. We need to keep BOTH, but only for the "right price".

Armando made a statement in his column today, "sign both Jennings and Wallace in fa, still keeping Hartline".

This puts Hartline in the "SLOT", The same exact thing I've been postiong to you guys. Hartline in the slot upgrades the position because now we suddenly have deep speed in the slot position.

Yes, Bess can still be on the team, just as the 4th wr, playing in the rotation too. There can still be creative ways to use Bess' great "quickness" within the offense.

However, its extremely unlikely we'll be able to sign "two fa wr's", so we sign a fa, draft a wr, and Hartline still goes into the slot as an upgrade.

Still it will come down to what will it take to resign Hartline. If he's commanding #1 wr pay, it would be absolutely ludicrous to sign him at that amount.

Especially when we have 3 picks in the first 2 rds and can more cheaply and easily replace him.

Some here think Im Hartline and Bess haters, but Im far from that. Im about having my team that I love make the smartest decisions the will have the greatest amount of impact towards the ultimate goal of becoming a championship team.

You dont build championship teams sentimentally. Championship teams are built making "wise decision" and the "greatest available talent". You can not do it with "emotional attachments" to certain players.

I'm echoing a few posters who posed the same question: what about Bush? I, too, think he's as much a priority as Hartline. How is it that re-signing a #2 WR is more of a priority over the #1 RB who scored more TDs?

I don't understand how many have concluded that Miller is the guy. I like Miller, but he still has to prove himself. We all know D. Thomas is not the answer. In fact he's just one more concuss away from early retirement. So what happens if Miller regressed? Without Bush, we have another hole that opened up.

Finally, I get that this is a passing league and WRs and TEs are hot commodities. But that doesn't mean we ought to be one dimensional. Let's not forget Tannehill has to improve (especially accuracy). If he falters, so will the passing game. Once again, Bush becomes another good insurance to have.

YG, "deep speed" in the slot position is a nonsensical terminology.

By its very definition, the slot is an UNDERNEATH pattern. Deep route patterns are most commonly known as "Y" routes.

If you want to say Hartline would provide a bigger and/or (likely) more productive slot receiver that could be argued, yet in rea;ity it is highly unlikely he would be moved to that role and would instead stay wide opposite (hopefully) an upgrade wideout on the other side.

In any regard, the more you write here trying VERY hard to sound like an 'expert' the more it is painfully obvious how little you actually know.


Although I've blasted you in the past for some of your opinions/comments but I must say that I couldn't agree more with your outlook on our FA's. At WR we simply can't afford to take another step back. Sure Jennings or Wallace or a 1st round pick at WR is essential but so is keeping Hartline. We need 4 or 5 WR's who can play, not three. Right now all we have under contract are two WR's that can play. Bess who is a number 3 WR & Matthews who I believe can be our a Number 4 WR.

IMO--Hartline is BY FAR the most important player that we need to re-sign. He was the most consistent player among the FA's, he's in the prime years of a WR's career, & he has a great chemistry with Tannehill. He may not be a Number One but he's definitely a very good Number Two.

I think we should also keep Fasano, Clemons, & Moore as backups if we can get sign them to 'reasonable' contracts but Smith, Long, Bush, & Starks did not produce enough this season to earn the type of contracts they believe they deserve. I don't believe in keeping these four players just to maintain.

Bush's game is predicated on speed. He's entering his 8th season. You guys do the math on that one.

Starks's is entering his "10TH Season". Again you guys do the math on that one.

Long's entering his 6th season, both Smith and Hartline, thier 5th seasons. By youth alone, all 3 are priorities to resign, but all 3 at omly "the right price".

Wallace(Or Jennings) + Hartline = Marshall + Hartline

Pay a man 6-8 Million dollars to put up 567 yrds and maybe 2 TDS in a year as a complimentary reciever to your #1 reciever! I DONT THINK SO!!!

Posted by: not fooling me | January 06, 2013 at 02:51 PM

I dont have to fool you buddy, youre already fooing yourself.

Remember the Rams Tory Holt of "the greatest show on turf"? Holts arguably the great slot wr ever. Do you know why?

"He could consistently get deep, plus had the speed once he caught it "underneath" to take it all the way to house too".

Youre not fooling me, guess what? Youre not fooling me eithier! LOL...

Hey 48-Go, I enjoy your posts alot, keep it up.

I get that Bush is our main play maker on offense. I see two problems with giving him a monster pay day to keep him.

1. He is not a three down back.
2. We have so many holes to fill all over the roster we can't afford to pay a HB huge money seeing as we have invested alot I picks in HB recently.

I can't honestly see us paying him the 5 million he is currently making next year. Not if we want to be buyers in free agency.

Some of you simply amaze me. Im sure you guys are real dolfans. Just seems many of you lack knowledge of past history of how championship teams are actually assembled and lack foresight in seeing how pieces operate "together".

If you lack this, it means you would be far worse than Jeff Ireland in assembling a team and wouldnt have to worry about other dolfans asking you to "fire yourselves". It would be an absolute easy decision for Ross to boot you out the doors.

I happen to like Hartline but comparing him to Torry Holt?


Not even remotely the same type of receiver or speed.

Yet another clueless statement from you. They are adding up rapidly.

“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...."

Good for Hartline. Hartline is the ONLY skilled player that has been drafted in the last SEVEN years that has proven he can produce at a HIGH level in the NFL. As much as I like Tannehill & Miller it's too early to say that about either player.

The longer Ireland waits to re-sign this guy the more it will show that Ireland & his staff are clueless on how to improve this offense & win in the NFL. He f#cked up by trading for a mentally unstable B. Marshall (one of the 3rd round picks we got back was used on Egnew!!!), he f#cked up drafting Gates, he f#cked up by drafting Cunningham, he f#cked up when he drated Patrick Turner, this franchise f#cked up by drafting Ginn....Enough already!!! Plus we haven't hit on a TE in the draft since Randy McMichael!!!!

No way in hell bush makes anything over 2.5 million if he wants to stay a dolphin. I think both he and Long will be FA (By reputation alone) signings for other teams willing to pay on the market.

Posted by: Get Sense! | January 06, 2013 at 03:00 PM

I see youre one of the few posters here with "foresight". You dont have to "get sense". Youve "got sense" brother!

not fooling me,

Figure this one out? Off button. Im not fooling you either. LOL...

A fool will always find a way to be fool, no mattger how much wisdom surrounds him and tries to bring him into camp. LOL...

Long's entering his 6th season, both Smith and Hartline, thier 5th seasons. By youth alone, all 3 are priorities to resign, but all 3 at omly "the right price".


According to youth--yes. According to production then only Hartline is a priority. Smith is too inconsistent & Long is on IR again.

YG4E there's lots of ways to build a contender not just one. I'm from the build with the draft and get cap space to compete for the free agents you are targeting.

Luck's seeming to fall into the mold of bigger more athletic Chad Pennington, with a bigger arm.

Disagree if you like, but Luck only seems to be a comeback qb if only behind by small deficits. If the Ravens put one more td on the scoreboard(24pts) I doubt you'll see any Luck heroics today.

"Off button" is another way of saying you can't keep up in this conversation. Internet 101 cliche.

Best of luck fooling others here. There's a couple dumb enough to fall for your schtick.

The Colts have run maybe 20 different screen plays out of 40 possible plays.....

I know Chuck Strong is a great story....and I hope he beats the crap out of his cancer.....

but Bruce Aryians maybe be the real glue that kept this team winning.....

I agree Smith is not worth big money and I believe we won't have to pay him. He was in a contract year and underwhelmed, he didn't rise to the occasion. Long we may tag and I hope ultimately for trade purposes. If we can't work a trade we have him for a year to see if he can stay healthy.


Its not just about building thru draft and fa alone. These are the avenues, but you still have to have vision and forsight to envision how all of the parts work together, not just "SINGULARLY".

SINGULAR VISION has gotten amany hc and gm's fired. Check the nfl history. Its never where you shop, its how "smart you shop" thjat makes the greatest difference. Whether free agency or draft.

I think we need all our FA's back at the right price. All are good football players. Reggie Bush borders on being great.

Hartline looks like the old Welker situation waiting to happen again.

Welker is pushing for a truckload of money from the Pats. I can see them cutting him loose and signing Hartline for half that.

It just amazes how these intelligent GM's and coaches let themselves loose their jobs out of stubborness.

I hate to keep beating a dead horse but it bugs me to no end that I couldn't disagree more with Irelands theory that a players value may be lower on the open market.

Why risk it? When you find good players that are dependable and buying into the system.

I mean I haven't heard one these guys make a statement like Jennings, or Wallace, or Bowe and say their ready to move on.

In fact, Bush, Starks, Smith, and Hartline have all extended the olive branch and said they prefer to be in Miami.

Most if not all of these contracts could have been extended.

Free agency can be a crap shoot. Maybe not as much as the draft but when you have Ireland in control of it, who knows.

"Per the Palm Beach Post, the Dolphins and impending free agent CB Sean Smith are "far apart" on contract talks.
Smith is said to be seeking a deal similar to the one Jason McCourty received from the Titans in August -- six years, $43 million, $20 million guaranteed. Miami is reportedly valuing Smith at a much lesser amount. The Dolphins will have until March 9 to negotiate with their long, physical corner, but it's almost certain that Smith will test the free-agent market. "

F#ck Sean Smith. $7 Million a year w/ $20 Million guaranteed. No f#cking way. Good bye & good luck.

If Ireland gives Smith a deal in this range he's even dumber than I thought he was & I already think he's incompetent boob.

I believe you meant Chuck Pagano.

The Colts are running the same offense. You don't change the playbook just because your OC is incapacitated for an afternoon.

You may have noticed the Baltimore Ravens defense is playing on the other side of the ball.

Ravens are playing inspired knowing that this is Ray Lewis's final game at home. The colts have played up to their talents against a team overall that is better and more experienced in playoff football than they are at this point in each teams progression toward a championship.

If the Colts run a screen...i'm turning the game off....

I play chess, no im not even close to champion calibre. But the most basic think in chess is not a "singular move". That singular moves needs to be a part of a great "combination of moves" that leads to victory.

Rarely do you win any type of compettion with "one great move" based on its own merit. The checkmate almost always come as a result of how all the "series of moves" combined to "work together.

You guys are trying to build a team based on a singular move with zero regards in how they may work in combinations with eachother. Pure example of this are the Philadelphia Eagles that got Andy Reid fired.

Singular many great players, but disastrous as a winning combination.

The Colts drafted this RB Ballard in the 5th rd who has turned out to be a pretty darn good RB!

YG4E I agree you have to have a total plan for your team and you need to aquire players that fit your scheme and are also versatile athletes. The draft leads free agency for a couple of reasons, first being if your picks are good quality you can end up with starters making low salaries. The more of those you have, the more cap space you have available for the top free agents every year. The Dolphins biggest problem for years on end and anyone that has been watching the team for years will know this, is we've squandered our draft picks through poor drafting and trades. We've messed up our cap by overpaying for depth players (2 million for Trusnick.....seriously?) and for over bidding for marginal free agents (Wilson).

Free agency is set up by successful drafting.

I meant what I WROTE.....

The rest is you're opinion and you're entitled to it....

This game is exactly why Ive never been big on Flacco. I believe Flacco has peaked, he'll never be much more than what we see today.

He'll allow the Colts to hang around until they win the game. Tom Brady would be up by 3 tds on the Colts by now. Taking away 75% of the Colts "playbook".

How the f#ck can sean smith even think he's anywhere near that market amount he's asking for if that can be believed. No team (NO TEAM) will pay that man that kind of money gauranteed. He must think too much of himself as an elite corner(with vontea's influence no doubt playing a factor when he was here) or recieving extremely BAD information from his agent.

Colts miss fg, but, Flacco needs to put another td on the scoreboard to ensure there isnt a Luck comeback. 17-9, and a 7pt lead, is setting Luck up for game ending heroics.

Luck isnt a big deficit qb. But if you leave the score close at the end. Youre playing right into his range of talent.

Smith had a bad year, no way he is worth that reported money, let him walk.

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