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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. 

 

 

 

Comments

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The Signal @12:58 this isn't the only Dolphins blog on the net. I've noticed a few different posters in here (perhaps its one guy but who knows) talking Hartline up more each day. I've had discussions with people (in Hydes blog, Dolphins digest, and Phinsider ) who have built him up more and more every week. So to answer your question, no, it's not revisionist history on my part because it's actually happening. :)

Flacco is an overrated QB with more talent around him that makes people forget the flaws he does have and continues to show each year that the ravens are good but never good enough to take the next step into the SB.

Put him on the Jets or Bills and you could argue the difference between him and the likes of Ryan Fitspatrick and Mark Sanchez are about the same in regards to production without the talent.

So nobody wants to overpay for Hartline or Bush. If that is your concern, you should be happy our GM is Ireland. He is not likely to overpay them.

We'd have zero offense without Reggie. D Thomas is a joke and the kid from UM cant block at all. Reggie is a must resign and is worth 6-7 mill. He's also the face of the franchise.

Ball game. Bye Bye Colts!!

Flaccid throws a Beatiful deepball

Flacco, great pass!

I'm so glad the Colts are about to lose out 2nd rounder from them has dropped enough

Good point Clue. I didn't even think about that. So now Luck will make us suck...lol.

Bush worth 6-7 million? LMAO

one year of 1000 yrds and being the most productive player on an offense built around anemic play does not qualify one should recieve huge paid benefits for GM Irelands screwups on the offensive side of the ball.(Drafting or FA)

..... I agree that it would be ludicrous to even think about signing Hartline to a #1 reciever type of contract. My argument may come across as sign him at any cost. Not the case. Look at the top reciever contracts and many of them are inflated, and over valued.

My thinking on Hartline is that he should get an offer in the range of 4 years at 10-12 million. That is totaly fair, and in comparison to his current contract a huge commintment by the team..(I think his expiring contract was 4 years @ around 2.7 million) That is a huge raise percentage wise, and looking at other recievers that have similar production right in the ball park.

.. As I mentioned earlier. None of us are cap experts. we can only make limited guesses as to how the team, and other franchises will do buisness. I just think the numbers thrown around here that say 4-5 million a year are overblown.

I disagree Finman but I get your point, our offense without Reggie looks pretty sad. That's the fear. Giving Bush, Steven Jackson money? That I don't get, he's not a 3 down back.

Gameover folks, Luck isnt coming back from 2 tds down. Im not in hatorade for Luck, Im only trusting the results of researching his present pattern over the entire season.

We all have patterns of behavior and performance. Sometimes these things play hand in hand.

Guess what else folks? Based on the now, I dont see Luck carrying Manning's jock strap. Yes, he'll be good, but I dont see the 2nd coming of Peyton Manning.

I see Luck closer to Roeslisberger. Roelisberger's 1st sb ring was virtually handed to him. He walked right into a sb championship calibre team. His 2nd sb ring was mostly because the Steelers great defense.

So it could still be possible Luck can be the 2nd Ben Roelisberger and never earn a sb ring. Unless of course, the Colts can build one of those Steeler-like defenses around him. Because he needs to have the "score close" to be most effective.

"By it's very definition the slot is an underneath pattern".

Wtf are you talking about. The slot is a position, not a pattern.

Secondly, "deep speed" is not a terminology. It is not a special term as in "Y4 right, blue 9, Dolphin flex." That is an example of terminology, it is a special term that is exclusive to a playbook. There are thousands of different examples of terminology. Deep speed isn't one of them.

TY Hilton
Clueless Ireland can't spot talent under his nose or backyard

U---N---L---U---C---K---Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That second rounder for lazy a%$ Vontae and his grandmommy is about to be a bit higher. Nice.

Luck fared no better against the ravens than chad noodle arm did in miamis only trip to the playoffs in the last 11 years and that was after miami made a turnaround of a year in 2008 from 1-15 to 11-5.

Bad Mojo for indy still to come maybe???

Luck will be good for years, he's just struggling against a top defense in his rookie year. Manning struggled against top defenses in the playoffs for years as well.

Jameson....

I'll stick by what I WROTE @ 3:25...

The play calling has been questionable @ best....and its hard to replace the man who called the PLAYS that got you to the post season......the confidence he instilled in Luck...as well as being an ear and confidant for Luck to sound of on during games.....

but FEEL FREE to disagree with me in the most snippy way possible.....

Heck....

you can even disagree with me just because I said it.....

DD
Spot on in regards to Hartline. He needs a pay raise but not the kind to break the bank and I think he agrees to a reasonable contract.

YG4E
I agree with your earlier post on Luck @ 3:34 in regards to big deficit comeback. My take on him is he will keep Colts in most games but will force things enough to make the kind of mistakes that Tannehill did not. Keep in mind though that he will get better with experience. Bottom line, Tannehill is not that far off compared to Luck. He needs playmakers which is what Luck had more of than Tannehill.

Telling you guys,

Even in college Luck wasnt a big deficit come from behind qb. He was a "sustained drive qb". Sustained drives take time and decreases "margin of error".

Luck isnt a consistent deepball qb. Luck beats you with sustained drives and that at times becomes problematic. Proof of this is 18 ints and could have easily been 20 ints, just the 2 plays we didnt make against him alone.

Folks, Andrew Luck isnt going to be Peyton Manning. 10yrs from now, remember I told you!

See, I told you. Luck sukkking dikkk today. Poor LV.

Notice, as Luck moves the ball downfield, the field shrinks. So Lucks chances of making a mistake increases.

Boy that Jameson is a little biatch. Ditto for oscar, get sense, and Clue. Enuff said

Today has been Luck's season in a microcuasm. Im pretty glad we didnt suck for Luck, because his weaknesses as a qb were on full display today!

One thing history can teach you, NEVER JUDGE A ROOKIE QB in just one NFL year(No matter how bad or good they may appear)

YG4E
About Luck. Spot on @ 4:05! Credit him with good...but great remains to be seen.

Tanne would have won this one. Luck played like Henne today.

Darkoak....

I agree.....

passing judgement on a Rookie QB making his FIRST playoff game...and then predicting there future in the NFL is bold to say the least....

The Ravens D has made a LOT of QB look bad in the past....from Tom Brady a few years back to Chad P....and nowadd A. Luck to that list....

The Ravens have won a playoff game in each of the last 5 years....I believe it is the longest active streak in the NFL.....

There is no shame in losing to the Ravens......and Luck's story is just being written....

and I'm not a Luck fan.....

Peyton Manning must be really enjoying this today. Today Irsay is sucking Manning's dick! LOL...

Another thing, compared to Luck and his 4 yrs starting, Indy opened up their playbook for him whereas Miami did not quite open up the playbook for Tannehill probably because of his limited college starts.

We played the Raven after our 1-15 season too. We had less talent at qb and less talent in the recieving corps. We didnt score a td against the Ravens d either.

This game looked like "total rewind"! LOL...

I don't know yg, I don't think this one game is a precursor to what his entire career will look like. Just my opinion but Luck is a rookie QB playing against a veteran D at their home in the playoffs a few days after their leader announced his coming retirement. Lol, he has A LOT going against him.

No they didnt!!!!!!!!

Not "the Ray Lewis" to end the game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL...................... ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Phins78, hit it right on the nose!

Phin78,

This game encapsilated what Luck's weakness was in college, what it was all season, and what it was today.

Luck is still a very good qb when the score is close. There just hasnt been anything in his college career, nor his rookie season, suggesting he's has big deficit comeback ability.

Remember, his rookie completion percentage was only 54%. Today he was 28 of 54 or 52%.

Tannehill was more accurate than Luck with a worse recieving corps.

Tannehill completed 58% of his passes for the season. Luck 54%.

Phin78,

Also, as dolfans, some of have become so accustomed to making excuses for our own players. We've become great at making them for other teams players too(Luck). LOL...

What a wasted season the Colts had! If they were going to do anything this was the year to do it. now all them wins dont mean nothing except that Miami will get a lower second round draft pick. I expect A. Luck to have a sophomore slump next year and hit the wall ... so it will be 3 or 4 year before the Colts will even sniff the super bowl again if ever. They totally lost on purpose last year to get him, they were a way better team than they showed us last year, toward the second half of the season they lost on purpose ...NOW karma has caught up to them.....

Colts better find a run game next year. Luck averaged 39 passes a game this season, only connecting on 54% of those.

This alone suggest Luck just may not be a high volume and high complettion qb. At 54% completetion, the Colts had better find a run game so that Luck doesnt have to throw in such "high volumes".

This can be his weakness folks. Believe that nfl dc's will pay careful attention now that they have a "full volume" of work in now how to prepare for Luck.

I hear ya YG. We'll see how it plays out. He did have 7 come from behind wins this year. I haven't looked at the numbers but I have to believe at least a few of those games they were down by 7 or more.

Also Luck was asked to throw the ball over 653 times as opposed to Rg3 (368) and Wilson (395) , those are rough numbers but within 10 either way. So I don't put a lot of stock in the completion percentage because he takes a lot of shots down field on lower percentage throws.

We will see but I hope you're right, it would mean less of an obstacle for our Phins in the future!

Very true on the excuses, we are becoming experts at it. :)

Based on this season, in 2013, dc's probably flood the "underneath stuff" and force Luck to prove he can hit the homerun stuff. He didnt prove that this year.

So, I expect to see dc's flood the underneath and intermediate stuff and give him one on one on the outside and dare him to consistently hit those.

Luck's been an underneath to intermediate qb all year. He hasnt consistently hit deepballs all year. Some of the intermediate may have went all the way as a result of blown coverage and missed tackles. Thats about it.

Why not Wes Welker? He had a great year, is perfect for the WC offense, is a great character guy, and may be cheaper than Bowe and Wallace. Wallace, Bowe, and Jennings all have question marks:

1. Wallace- Greedy receiver that did not want to honor his contract this year. IMO Hartline had a better year than Wallace this year. He wants 10 Million a year and which is what Brandon Marshall makes and he is not worth it. If he is so great why are the Steelers letting him walk?
2. Jennings- He is an injury machine. He is constantly hurt and the Packers are not willing to pay him 6 million a year as they are in favor of 3 other receivers on the team.
3. Bowe- He reminds me of Marshall and I like him but let's face it Philbin is not bringing players with questionable character.

I would sign Welker and resign Hartline. I would also sign Dustin Kellar as a pass catching TE. Then I would draft Zach Ertz with the 1st pick in the second round and Steadman Bailey with the 1st pick in the 3rd. A receiving group of Hartine, Welker, Bailey, and Bess would be pretty good and I also like a group of TEs that includes Kellar, Ertz, and Clay.

Phins78,

All 7 come from behind wins are all close games. We know that he can do that. It's being down by 10 or more points where he has zero comeback wins.

There arent enough fingers on a room full or hands to count Peyton Manning's comeback win of 10 or more points. Im pretty convinced Luck isnt Peyton Manning part II.

Folks in his first year Manning went 3-13 and was pretty bad. Luck had done much better than Manning did in his first year. He had 5 come back wins in the last minute and threw twice the number of TD passes than Tannehill did. He led last year's 2-14 team to an 11-5 record and the playoffs. Also, he did it with a 35 year old Wayne, TY Hilton (4th round rookie), Brazill (6th round rookie) and 2 other rookie TEs. This kid is going to be great and I wish the fins would have been able to draft him.

Orlando,

With Welker, youre talking a player going into his 10th, if not 11th season right now. Sometimes, you have to look down the road a little.

I see no way we're great sb favorites in the next 2 yrs. Especially with Brady/Manning still having at least 2 more great years in them.

So by time we're ready to be a serious contender we'll need to address wr once again. Coming into his 10th-11th season, in 3 seasons max, where will we be with Welker and our wr position again.

This thing is so tedious you have to look at the entire nfl picture. Where we currently are, the greatest stumbling block(Brady/Manning). It's probably going to be 2 more season before any afc team has a serious chance to unseat Brady/Manning representing the afc in the sb.

Both are too good and have too many weapons at thier disposal. So signing Welker coming into his 10th-11th season, really does us what good in the entire landscape of the picture?

Orlando,

In Manning's first year, the Colts were "LEGITIMATELLY" a terrible team. There's was no doubts about "tanking anything". This year there were huge concerns that the Colts purposely tanked to get Luck.

Hence Luck finishes 11-5. Manning finishes 3-13. Manning had "BY FAR" the worst team around him. HUGE DIFFERENCE, my friend.

Hartline will go to the highest bidder! I don't believe any of the other crapola being spouted.

what's funny as hell is that most folks on this fan page have utterly no confidence in the gm to make the picks necessary to take the club to the next level and i also think that Armando is also in that group! so why doesn't anyone ask ross tomorrow why he keeps the gm at his end of year conference? this has been too long a losing franchise. i guess losing is acceptable in ross' eyes!! a sad dolfan in cali!!

Isn't having 1 white WR good enough and now some of you want 2. I thought you guys want explosive playmakers Welker is decent but in no way a consistent playmaker we need. Also I'm sure having Tom Brady as QB held his inflated stats..

Orlando,

Manning even had far less around him at Tennessee. Manning didnt have close to the talent at Tenn surrounding him as Luck was surrounded by at Stanford.

In both cases Luck has presently had far more.

Orlando good point on Mannings first year. I wouldn't compare the wins and losses YG4E but the TD and INT totals, pass attempts and passing yardage. Also the Colts draft last year could go down as one of their best all time IMO.

Luck will Be Ok, Not Great!

Agreed. Luck was Suppose to be the Smartest QB to Ever Come Out! That Is His ONE Super Skill!!

RG3, Is An Athletic Freak!

And T-Hill, Is The Prototype! But Lacked Experience!

For All Of You Complaining About T-Hill! T-Hill Would've Went #1 Overall This Year!! Yes, T-Hill Is Better Than MATT Barkley! Landry Jones! And All The Other Scrubs Coming Out Next Year!!

And Don't Give Me The Johnny Manziel Would've Still Been The QB!!

Texas A&M Is Stacked!!

Lets See How JM Does Next Year! When His Line and WR's Aren't Future NFL'ers!!

Clue,

Most posters here really dont have one(Clue). They dont understand that in chess, a queen's the most powerful piece on the board, but if not used corectly she can be surround and taken by simple pawns.

They see everything "one pice value" at a time. They have no clue of how combinations of pieces operating "in harmony" together trumps any singularly powerful piece.

I think that if we could sign Welker for 3 years it would allow our young receivers time to develop. Maybe next year (2014) we draft a WR in the 1st round. For the next 3 years Welker would be a pretty good starting wide receiver and would help Tannehill develop. He would give you a solid receiver and allow time for youngsters like Mathews, Ertz, and Bailey, assuming we draft them, to develop. Again Jennings' inability to stay on the field worries me and Wallaces' greed and high price tag are also a concern. Go with the sure bet in Welker while your young receivers develop.

As a bonus Welker knows the Pats offense and would have a chip on his shoulder twice a year when we face them.

dashi,

Disagree with you on one thing. RG3 has proven to be the smartest qb to come out of this draft. Then Wilson, Tannehill, Luck. Yes I put Luck dead last.

His completion percentage(54%) and picks(18, should be far more) tells me this.

Luck's greatest gift of all seems to be that he's the most difficult of all of these qb's to bring down(sacks). So, basically, he can some plays alive and get rid of the ball with defenders hanging onto him.

This seems to be the only thing that really separates him from these other rookie qb's.

Look at all that Luck was able to accomplish with an aging receiver and mostly rookies. He had no running game and the defense was average. He had 23 TDs over 4300 yards to Tannehill's 3200 yards and 12 Tds. If we would have had all those rookie receivers and a 35 year old wayne the result would have been different and we would have been complaining about how bad our receivers are. You have to give the kid credit, he led them to an 11-5 record, had 5 QB come backs in the last 1 minute, and took his team to the playoffs. Again look at Manning's numbers that first year and his play. I watched a lot of Luck's games this year and was amazed by his poise in the pocket and his precision passing. Once the Colts have all the pieces in place and this kid matures look out! He is just a rookie!

Orlando,

Sign Welker to a huge contract just to allow our Young wr's to grow? Not only isnt that good enough reason, but may not be economically feasible either.

Under this proposal, youre resigning Hartline, sign Welker, and sign Jennings or Wallace too? Where's that money coming from?

Even if you dont sign Wallace or Jennings in this situation. You still go into 2013 trusting a rookie to be your #1 wr(We know what Hartline looks like in this position), Hartline as your #2 wr, and Welker in the slot.

So what young wr's are we allowing to develop over those 3 yrs? If a rookie is taking over the #1 wr position, he had better be good right away. W#e dont have 3yrs(Welker'scontract) for him to develop.

Again, why we would resign Welker to a big contract coming into his 10th-11th season? He aint coming cheap and is only a slot wr. Bess could look similar with Brady and the offensive pieces he has to attack.

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