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A look at the available unrestricted tight ends

First the news: The Miami  Herald learned late Thursday that Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline will remain Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline as he has agreed to a five-year, $30.8 million contract with the Dolphins. The deal has $12.5 million in guaranteed money. So one wide receiver down but the Dolphins need more help for their passing game this offseason. Speaking of which:

The Dolphins need to upgrade their tight end position. Have I mentioned that a few thousand times in this space? Have I said it enough to get my point across?

Good tight end play is a quarterback-savior. Good tight end play is a red zone headache for the defense and a helpmate to the offense. Good tight end play is a matchup problem all over the field. Good tight end play is no longer a luxury in today's NFL.

It is a necessity.

And the Dolphins have had mostly average tight end play for way too long.

Don't misunderstand. Anthony Fasano is a smart, hard-nosed, try-hard player. He's a good blocker and able pass receiver. But he's not an elite player. He's not even a player New England coach Bill Belichick worries about stopping when he's forging a game plan to play Miami. Indeed, Fasano is the guy Belichick wants the ball to go to in the Dolphins pass offense because it means the weapons are being erased from the game.

Fasano is an unrestricted free agent. I assume the Dolphins will re-sign him or try. Why re-sign a merely solid player at a position that needs upgrade?

Well, the guys behind Fasano haven't been good enough to take his job and the folks the Dolphins might consider signing come with significant questions.

First consider Miami's history at adding tight end behind Fasano:

Charles Clay. He has little production but at least he's got unmet potential.

Jeron Mastrud. He tries hard.

Will Yeatman. His best career move was becoming an offensive lineman.

Mickey Shuler. Not his dad, unfortunately.

Joey Haynos. Tall. That's all.

Kory Sperry. One-TD wonder.

John Nalbone. Bust.

Michael Egnew. Not holding my breath.

Let's face it, the Dolphins haven't had a whole lot of luck finding great tight ends of late. But as unrestricted free agency is about to dawn over the weekend with the chance for teams to speak with agents representing all the league's available players, this is a good time to discuss the possibility that Miami's luck changes.

This coming free agency period actually offers a possible fit or two for the Dolphins that might deliver modest upgrade. (Honestly, I'd look more to the draft if I were the Dolphins, but one cannot discount the possibility Miami may dive into free agency to address the position.)

There are a dozen or so unrestricted free agents about to come to market barring them signing last-minute deals with their current teams. Here are some followed by my thoughts on them:

Tony Gonzalez: He's retiring and if he doesn't he's returning to the Falcons. Simple as that.

Ben Watson: Might have made mild sense five years ago but not now.

Martellus Bennett: Very, very intriguing. He has all the measurables -- 6-6, 270 pounds, runs well, strong. And he had a good season with the Giants. But his 55 catches for 626 yards was also his best NFL season. And he wants to get paid. I don't mind players wanting to be paid for their historic production and potential ahead. But when a player that has one good year wants to get paid, that worries me. The Titans might be suitors. I cannot say I'm sold if the price is going to be the $6-$7 million per year I've heard tossed around.

Dustin Keller: He's almost exclusively a pass-catcher. He's 6-2 and 250 pounds and has been something of a security blanket for Mark Sanchez. The Jets would like to keep him, but they're not moving heaven and earth to do it right now. They're letting him test the market. He's coming off an injury-riddled season so that raises questions. He's going to be 29 so that's not an issue. Yes, adding him subtracts from the Jets. But I'm not sure how significant that is in the grand scheme of things.

Delanie Walker: I don't like him. He drops way too many passes. He's only 6-foot. He is a product of a great system, great coaching and great complementary talent, in my view. Put him on the Dolphins and he does not beat out Fasano. He would be better than Charles Clay, but that's not the goal, I don't believe.

Dallas Clark: Only if Peyton Manning comes with. And he's not.

Jared Cook: He fancies himself a receiver and wanted to be franchise tagged as such by the Titans because he often lined up in the slot. The Titans decided not to wage that fight and so they didn't tag him and he's likely going to hit the market. Oh, and he also wants to get paid. The rumored orbit is $8-$10 million per year. The Rams, where former coach Jeff Fisher now works, are said to be interested. Dolphins fans are also interested. I'd be interested too if the price wasn't so sky high.

Fake GM Salguero advice: Draft a tight end. Or pray Green Bay's Jermichael Finley is released.

 

Comments

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It looks like Philbin and Ireland didn't read the blog for the last few days to get the opinion of the 'blogger who who knows everything' before signing Hartline.

Even if you overpay a little to keep the players you want, the players you've drafted and developed, in order to build your team, is a natural part of the process for all teams. Otherwise you will will never build a base.

Remember, no team can afford a full roster of pro bowlers, you need your blue collar workers too. 74 catches and 1000+ yards with a rookie QB on a brand new offense is earning your stripes.

Any idea on how the numbers from the Hartline deal are spread over the cap for the term of the contract?

Carl you couldn't be more wrong, Hartline is the empitamy of this entire organization MEDIOCRE at best !!

Resigning Hartline was a wise move by Ireland. He has a comfort level with Tannehill and now is in his prime. The guy helps move the chains for first downs. So much for mindless banter about him signing with the Patsies.

Good point what is the cap hit for this year?

What do the call a SEAM threat in Miami ?

Answer: A stranger

If healthy, I think the Dolphins should look at Fred Davis. He has shown flashes of talent, and might be less expensive than any of the above mentioned outside of Clark. He would still provide an upgrade. I'd prefer to see Dolphins grab Wallace as #1 receiver in free agency, and draft a TE in Round 1, as writer suggests. The top TEs in draft appear to have more potential than top WRs, which everyone has Dolphins taking in their mocks.

Good start to the day to see Hartline resigned..

good move

PFF seem to rate fasano highly. As for Egnew, give the guy a break! He may end up a bust but it's impossible to know after one rookie season in a transitioning team.

Regarding new TE's? Use one of the 2nd rd picks or perhaps move down in the first for additional 2nd and get Efhert (sp?) with the later pick in the 1st.

Go after Bennett and draft a TE as well. Is Hartline now the highest paid #2 WR in the league? Seems like alot of money for a #2 WR.

Oh, I agree with the Hartline deal. Hartline should only get better over the next few seasons. He enteringnhis prime, has an improving QB and playing with (hopefully) an improving pass offence.

Ireland will need to restructure some contracts on defence to meet the cap in future years - particularly if we sign Wallace for the kind of money it will likely take.

I am neither happy or sad about resigning Hartline. I am alright with it. A good catching WR. Not much for Y.A.C, but he can catch. Drafting a T.E. is a crap shoot when doing it thru the draft, I would rather sign the two Benetts brothers. One at tight end and the other as our new defensive end across from Wake.

I expect a busy day in the NFL. Who else will get signed today by the Phins? Clemmons, Long, Fasano? There is much to be gained and lost by making moves today. What about grabbing Winston? He can be signed today because he was cut.

I like the Hartline signing. It sends a couple messages. The Dolphins are serious about the wr corps this year. Possible free agent targets like Wallace will see we take care of our players.

On the the TE subject, how big of a reach would Eifert be at 12? Could he make an impact as a rookie?

The free TE market isn't looking quite as appealing after some time to ponder the candidates.

I agree with Armando, hell no on Cook at 8-10 million.

Bennett and Fred Davis would probably be upgrades.

A combo of Keller and Fasano would also be an upgrade.

None of those scenarios though really scream Gronkowski or Graham type seam threat ability.

Yesterday Woodson said he wanted to play for a contender. Just imagine if Finley, Jennings and Woodson signed with the fins, what would that say about their opinion of Philbin and his coaching ability.

I would trade Dansby if we could find a team to dump him on. Sign a FA DE and draft one, slide Vernon to LB (you know this will happen sooner or later) and switch off with Kaddu (only person I have heard Philbin get excited about)also put Burnett (restructured) into Dansby's role. Misi remains for now. Please DO NOT keep Long! GO PHINS!!!!

4 Wr's is More Important Than 1 TE!

At Least We Didn't Overpay For Hartline. $12 Mil Guarantee Is Not A Lot.

Still A Little Skeptical On The Signing.

As Long As We Don't Overpay For Wallace.

And Devlin Is Philbin's Favorite Player. Followed By Bess.

From Last Blog

Welker has Never Won A Superbowl.

T.Brady Hasn't Won A Superbowl In Over A Decade.

Or

Since Brady Had A Defense.

On White Wr's Winning A Superbowl? (Which Shouldn't Matter)

Any Team Before The 70's Usually Had A Couple.

But Yes, Agreed. White Pro Wr's That Are A Difference Maker are As Rare As White RB's!!

---------------------------------

1 Good Thing About Resigning Flatline Is That We Won't Have To Hear OVER AND OVER Again!! The Pat's Will Look Awesome With Hartline!!

Thank God!

I'm sure there will be negative comments all over this blog today about the Hartline signing. I just don't get the negativity towards this guy. I really don't. This was a good draft pick by Ireland and company and to me this was a 'must resign'. So what would we have if he hadn't resigned Hartline? Bess, Matthews, Bimms....BRILLIANT! Now the pressure would be on to sign a Wallace and Jennings and to draft WRs early in the draft. I still think this is a priority but the same pressure isn't there. I think to have let the best receiver on the team go two years in a row would have been disasterous. Smart move by Ireland and I'm glad he got this done before other teams could talk to Hartline. This is a guy teams would have snapped up, IMO....why? because teams are looking for a WR at that price range. It's like you're high priced vehicle. Most people out there aren't going to pay top dollar for a luxury vehicle. Same in the NFL. Not a lot of teams looking to spend big dollars for a Wallace or Jennings. The market will be smaller.

So pay no attention to the 'one TD' Bull-shyte! How many TDs SHOULD Hartline have had last year? Maybe 3-4? The rest of the time, the QB couldn't get the ball to him or the offence let down. The offence scored 18 points last year and people want to blame Hartline? F8cking hilarious!! Hartline played his a** off last year. If we'd had more guys like him we would have won more games.

Good move by Ireland. To me this move was imperative!

The TE is the most important asset for Miami to acquire this year. Armando said it:

"Good tight end play is a quarterback-savior. Good tight end play is a red zone headache for the defense and a helpmate to the offense. Good tight end play is a matchup problem all over the field. Good tight end play is no longer a luxury in today's NFL."

Don't forget 1) we need a good red zone target; 2) need also a good short yardage pass catcher; 3) that we have that young QB looking for a helpmate. Add to that the enhancement of OL blocking for the running game and the Dolphins are upgraded considerably more than through any other acquisition.

While Cook's a monster lining up all over the field, Bennett is the best bet. He's already got his living quarters here, too.

Anybody Ever Think? The Reason We Drafted Egnew Is Because We Plan On Splitting Him Out Wide From Time To Time. Like A Wr!

The Fins Drafted The Prototype TE For This Offense, Last Year.

A TE That Runs Like A WR, Who Can Lineup Wide In The No Huddle.

You Guys Have Heard Of The Spread-Option?

The Fins Run A Hybrid System Also. The Fins Are Running Some Type Of Spread-WCO.

Did anyone see that the Phins resigned Matt Moore, if that is the case that is a big re-signing. It shows players are buying into Philbin and his coaching staff, if he turned down being a starter to return to Miami! So far I am giving Jeffy an A+ and free agency hasnt even started!!

I see Matt Moore has resigned. Not sure what the contract was but this strikes me as another good move. So much for the guys who said last year, 'he's gone for sure'. 'He wants to be a start'......wrong AGAIN guys!

Also, so much for this theory, 'nobody wants to play for Ireland or the Dolphins'.....wrong AGAIN guys! What else have you got?

Oh yeah, where's the 'Ross is a cheapskate. He won't pay for FAs'. Where's that guy this morning? Did he kill himself yet?

Hartline and Starks seem like no brainers in spite of the naysayers. Now is when FA gets tough for Ireland. What happens at OT? What about the secondary? What about TE? What to do about Wallace/Jennings?

So A TE Is More Important Than A LT Or RT?

Right Now.

Doubt It.

Again, This Is The Miami Dolphins, Not The New England Patriots!!

THE FINS RUN A DIFFERENT OFFENSE!!

THIS ISN'T THE SPORANUS OFFENSE EITHER!!

Has Anyone Told Mando? "Signing A TE Is Important!!"

No!!

Ireland Has Admitted This Team Needs Playmakers!! Better Said "The Team Needs Wr's"

Last Year, The Team Consistently Only Went Into Games With 2 TE's Active. And 5 Wr's Active.

If The Fins Plan/Planned On Running POWER Formations. They Would've Consistently Activated 3 TE's On Gameday!!

Please Explain, How The Fins Plan On Running 70-75 Plays A Game!! With 2 TE's Constantly On The Field!!

Last person we need to resign is Anthony Fasano, after that let Clemons (unless he comes back on a cheap deal - unlikely) Bush, Long, Smith all walk. Winston sounds like a nice option but if he signs that leaves us with room for a good WR and maybe a Keller or Bennett. With Moore and Hartline resigning I wonder how much impact we'll have outside of our own FAs...

Good Job again Jeff Ireland on signing Matt Moore. Tell em like it is Craig M. The non sense would be funny if weren't spouted on here continually day after day. Moore is a good team mate and one heck of a back up.

Ben Volin is reporting that Matt Moore has resigned with the Dolphins. Volin got this from Jeff Darlington.

dadsmithwest,

Long is gone in my opinion. I think the team will push hard to get a deal done with Winston. I hear Philly and Houston are interested too. I'd like to see something done before Tuesday. I think they'll push hard on Wallace and Jennings too. That's the next priority IMO. TE? Probably the draft. CB, likely the draft too. With money allocated towards Starks, Hartline and Moore, I believe they will let Long, Bush and Smith walk. Sounds like the best plan to me. Big money set aside for Wallace/Jennings and perhaps a CB on the cheap. I also believe they'll save some of that money for Jones on a long term deal.

Interesting that Dolphins just resigned Matt Moore

resign fasano and draft a TE.

I agree Long is out of here. Winston seems like a better cheaper option. We don't even have to wait to chase him as a FA. That would solve a lot of questions right from the start. He's got major ties to Miami. Sign the guy and tell Long to enjoy being cut in a couple years from whoever is crazy enough to pay his ridiculous demands.

awesome Hartline will continue to be a Dolphin. did not want to see him playing anywhere else. hopefully Wallace is next.

Matt Moore reported to have resigned as Tannehill's back up acording to Jeff Darlington

Bill Bellichick:

Nice job resigning Hartline. I was getting afraid I may have to find new corners, Now the old ones will do fine. Continue to enjoy our smoke guppies.

THe only bad thing about this is the Matt Moore is God fans will still be saying the same thing week in and week out..

Seth look at whom you compared him to.. 3 #1's who have bigger contracts and more guarenteed money. 12.5 million guarenteed over 5 years isnt a bad deal for a #2..

Craig, agreed on the hartline signing. You weren't going to get a better WR for 2013 in the draft and you weren't going to find a better WR in free agency for the price. He's paid as a good #2 and fully deserves it. Not many #2 WRs in the NFL with 1,000 yard seasons. We haven't had many 1,000 yard WRs around here, at least ones that didn't get stabbed by their wives.

He's home grown, part of the program, productive, good team guy, from a good college program. If we get another vet on the other side that can produce as much we will be in good stead, especially with Bess in the slot and bringing along a 2nd or 3rd round athletic WR .. we will be ok with this position for years to come and give Tannehill a chance to breed familiarity with the same corps. This is the way winning teams do it.

Good job.

Folks, I see the emergence of a solid plan. Hartline is (like Bess) a possession receiver. Both are really solid catching the ball and can get open in short to intermediate routes. Chain movers. But, consider that a good 20% of a passing gameplan could not even be considered, because of a lack of a seam threat tight end and the lack of a WR that could keep the safeties honest (deep). With Wallace and Bennett (whom I believe we will go after both) we will add the homerun threats that will open up the field for both Bess and Hartline! I also believe we'll target a speedy shifty multi-threat talent like Tavon Austin to replace what Bush would have brought to such an offense. And that folks is a solid plan.... Now for dreamers add Winston to replace Long and Chris Houston for Smith and draft a pass rusher early and I'm done with the "dream".

YG,

Tell us again how Moore is 'gone'. How he 'wants to be a starter in the NFL'. How 'no FAs want to play for Ireland'.

Come on man....we're listening. WE'RE guppies.....hilarious!!.....

Great thing we resigned Matt Moore. Hartline appologists blame Tannehill for him having only 1 td.

YG,

Eat some crow bud....you might enjoy it! It's good for you.

Matt Moore will beat Tannhill out for the starting qb job and Hartline will score 58 tds this year.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZna1QV9MEI

How Many Times Did T-Hill Throw Out Of The Shotgun?

How Many Times Did He Use 2 TE's?

Maybe, The Video Will Refresh Your Memory! On What The Fins Offense Will Look Like.

Hartliners will be eating crow by 2013's season ends. He who laughs 1st never laughs last.

craig big mouth, is your only pleasure in life trying to pathetically tell people when they're wrong? is that your whole purpose here?

i guess when you are never right yourself, the only think you can do is point out other peoples flaws.

just stfu already with your nonsense. your a blog ruining putz.

I still think Greg Camarillo is the same player than Hartline

Mando, totally agree that the Dolphins need to upgrade the tight end position.

I was (and still am) a big fan of Cook, but I am not interested in seeing the Dolphins give him the kind of coin he's looking for.

As for adding a TE in the draft, I think that Dolphins' best option would be Escobar, the kid from San Diego State. He's not as big of a name as Ertz or Eifert, but he will be available at a position where he won't be a reach.

Re-signed Matt Moore? That's broderline shocking to me. Capable backups are in short supply and people get hurt so I understand it but I'm still surprised. Would like to hear the #s, I'm guessing it's going to cost the team ~ $3M per??

I say we get a good FA tight end (Cook or Bennett) and draft one this. We'll be set for a very long time.

Mike Wallace's asking price to the guppies just went up to 15 million after learing Hartline will be his running mate.

truth hurts,

Anybody want to take a guess who this guy is? Give you a clue:

- he's on here all day, every day
- thinks he has it al figured out.
- feels like someone pissed in his Corn Flakes because the team resigned Hartline
- is FREQUENTLY wrong with his predictions, as the Hartline and Moore moves show
- and yet he thinks he's got it all figured out.
- oh yeah, he thinks anyone who has a different opinion than him is an 'idiot' or 'nitwit'

Whatever, pal....have a great day! Some of us are liking what's being done. I guess cause it's 'not your plan' makes it wrong, right?

Have a good day bucko!...

Eifert @ 12!

Yeah Mark in Toronto, Matt is back with Dolphins and in this moment he's the highest paid backup QB (Aside of Mark Sanchez).

But thinking out of box, Matt Moore could represent a 2nd round pick on 2014, because once somebody gets hurt many things change.

Mark, starting QBs go down like flies...You need somebody that can step in at anytime and deliver...That's what Matt Moore does...

FireIreland while there's still time.

Matt @9:11,

Agreed. Now We Are Going To Have To Hear A Select Few!! CRY!!

Matt Moore Should Be The Starter.

If This Proves Anything Is EVEN Matt Moore Knows He Is Not Starter Material.

Well At Least, We Won't Get The T-Hill Needs A Veteran To Compete With T-Hill!! C R A P!! Or Draft A Qb With A Mid Round Pick!! The Fins Signed Moore To Backup For A Couple Seasons.

Like Dashi Said, Ireland Said He Wants To Sign The Players He Wants By March 9th!!

Get To Work Ireland!!

Just Don't Overspend!!

Im with a lot of you guys I'm neither overly excited or sad that we re-signed Hartline. We had Hartline as the number 2 WR when Marshall was here and I dont remember him doing much. My issues is his TD production, he needs to grab more TD catches, isnt he 6"3 or so why not throw a fade to him.

I hope we re-sign Bush to a decent contract, the guy is the only team who can take it the distance on 1 play. Only guy, you dont just give though guys up. Give him another 2 or 3 year contract.

Btw,

Not sure what the asking price will be on Bennett, but he's somebody I'd be interested in. Say goodbye to Fasano. Waste of money! Blocking TE? Don't we have enougn of those guys already.....ENOUGH ALREADY!

Pass catching TE and possibly a guy in the draft. Let's get some weapons....not a 1992 offensive players.

trade bess and pick up cook for the slot... good ROI

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