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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.



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Why on Earth would Matt Moore re-sign here if he, as sure as hell, can sign as a starter on many Teams in the League. Is this confirmed by the Dolphins FO? Hmm...

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

Posted by: Craig M | March 08, 2013 at 09:15 AM

more proof you aint here to talk football, just try to make fun of other bloggers.


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

Posted by: Craig M | March 08, 2013 at 09:17 AM

furtherproof this big mouth has no original thoughts of his own. his own pleasure in life is trying to mock other bloggers.

you arrogant putz.


What team is going to start for? Chance to compete? Yeah if Tannehill falls flat on his face he's going to get a chance here. Think about. Comfortable with the offence. Likes the HC. Likes the weather. Knows the offence. Doesn't have to move his family. Tell me what situation would be better oout there for him?

And all we heard from everyone was, 'the way they treated Moore, he's gone for SURE'. Hilarious!! Hey, I'm looking for some hot stocks to pick. Can you guys tell me, so I know which ones to stay away from...LOL. Couldn't be more wrong if you tried.

Signing Harline to me means we might be leaning towards a Jennings and Bennet signing, instead of Wallace

Signing Wallace is going to cost $13M a season, and we can get Jennings and Bennett, both of whom are very good, for probably $15M total

I would love to see us sign Winston right now, that would also take care of a major hole. Trying to get it done now would set us up for next weeks frenzy

So we would add three players on Offense for probably about $21M in total, leaves some $$ for a CB and then we can draft BPA in each slot...

My biggest fear now is that a kid like swope or hunter just to name a few comes in and pushes hartline seriously for the #2 WR position...and then what happens then, does hartline become a #3 or #4 in that case??...pretty expensive deal and risk giving him that kind of contract for only 6 TDS in his four years...but it is what it is and if anything it could very well point to Irefiends last foot being out the door come 2014!!!

Be interesting to see what the cap hit on hartline will be THIS year when all is said and done!!!

WOW - 6 Mil a yr avg for a 1 TD and almost no YAC WR. I am guessing that Ireland got to the point that he feels he's going to lose in the Wallace or Jennings sweepstakes and made sure he had a WR for Tannehill.

I am sticking to my hope that we land 1 of these 5 with our first round pick. Not in any order.

Mingo OLB - I know he scares you Craig and he should, if he goes to another team like the Jets Tannehill will be having nightmares about him coming around the corner. He has the quickest first step I've seen in a long time and very good closing burst.

Jordan OLB - Just an impressive athlete with skills that make him extremely versatile.

Ansah DE - This guy, even with his lack of experience is going to wreak havoc on opposing teams.

Patterson WR - Explosive, plain and simple
Allen WR - Polished as they come and can play any WR pos.

craig stuckup yuppy m's posts are about as useful as the dump i took this morning. as long as consistency & content is not the measuring stick.

Hey Armando, FORGET ALL those guys you mentioned. Bennett: Benefited from Eli only, the guy is LAZY! Keller: I actually met this guy, A-HOLE, plus always nicked up.
Cook: Lots of potential, but def. has work habit issues
These guys just don't fit the Philbin Philosophy!

I don't mind being wrong, Miller, but when I am, I like to know precisely why I was so. Personal reasons, certainly, but no competitive Player is going to pass an opportunity to reach his maximum efficiency to Win. Hmm...

I'd try to move up in the draft and get one of the two top TE's Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame or Zach Ertz, Stanford. McShay and Kiper have them flip floped in the draft at either 19 to the Giants who is projected to lose Martelius Bennet and the other to the Falcons losing Tony Gonzalez at #30. I never advocate moving up in the draft however this might be the year when you have two book end TE's with talent. That's how important I think it is for Tannehill to have that option weapon. Watching the 19th pick you'll know if there is only one of the elite TE's left on the board after the Giants select. IMO SteFin








I would be ok with the Fins drafting Tyler Eifert at 12. Yes, I know it is a reach and I think we would have to have signed Wallace, but think if the upgrades that would give us on offense? Serioulsy, a stud tight end and a WR who can get deep would loosen the LBs, opening the way for our running game, not to mention getting Bess open often.

Eifert is, by far, the best TE in this draft. I am convinced after watching many ND games this season that he would make a huge impact on the success of our ofense. Ertz is 2nd best TE and I would take him only if we could move to the bottom of the first round or very early in the 2nd.

We'll see what commences Tonight at Midnight.

I think it's Saturday at 4:00 p.m. EST

Armando Salguero how much of the 40 million plus do the Dolphins have left after signing Hartline?

What do the call a SEAM threat in Miami ?
Answer: A stranger

Posted by: mike | March 08, 2013 at 07:04 AM

The correct Answer is: they guy on the other team that our D can't cover.

-The reason many people here didn't want Hartline back (I was one but only wanted him back at a price for 3-6 mil/yr and he is getting 6.13) His route running is average at best speed is consider slow (don't know why so many people called him a deep threat). Doesn't really create separation or create anything for that matter. His hands are great and He is a very smart guy but he doesn't CREATE game changing plays. Solid guy that shouldn't be paid much more and his contract is on the high end of what he is worth.

-Not nad about the deal but he doesn't make us better so not jumping through any hoops for him. Would like to see a healthy long back for about 8 mil and Starks get a long term deal done to help with the cap. Get Wallace or Jennings and sign Chris Houston.

-In the draft you now have options and I like Patterson upside. None of the TEs scream game changer or have enough upside to make me draft them 12 overall (considering the offense we run as well)

This is one of the few drafts I would trade down if nothing falls to us. I like Tavon(Hopkins/Patterson), Honey badger late, Cyprien, Add a RB from the draft and let Miller split time Would like to upgrade the RG position but Jerry wasn't bad last year. Didn't think richie was a pro bowler last year so would look for upgrades there as well if any are to be had. Main needs are OT (for now) WR dear lord, a Hartline didn't make the team better today, CB like a Patterson but would like a proven guy like Chris Houston. TE would be nice but if you have pass catchers in the middle of the field TE don't have to be world beaters.

Hartline signing is a little high but I guess that's the going rate. Making sure he didn't become a Patriot is reason enough to sign him. He still can't do anything when covered over the top but as a #2 receiver he will be good for us.

WR is first priority, then a GOOD CB, a pass rushing DE!!!

guys i am more than happy with the resigning of hartline. Craig M and Mark are right! T-hill needs to keep some continuity with our better receivers, whilst going after at least another 1 in FA(wallace presumably). The key for me will be getting enough good FA's before the draft to enable us to draft for what we want rather than filling holes, which won't improve the team enough IMO.

The Hartline signing makes good sense. He has a good feel with Tanne already, the cap hit is not that bad he is only getting 12 mil guarenteed which means his cap hit the next few years will not be to high... we all know these contract numbers are back loaded a bit and seldom go thru the last few years, hartline will be at least as effective as last year and if he isnt doubled constantly( which will depend on Ireland getting a wallace or jennings) he could be even better. I watched Tanne miss him on at least 5 occasions he flat out blew past his defender. Hartline is a tough guy and a hard worker and a good locker room presence. He does make this team BETTER. Losing your number two reciever and a favorite and familiar target of your young QB is not a good thing and even moreso this year when there is a real chance to add more targets for Tanne either with the wr pos or te posistion. All this and stockpile of early draft picks (5 of the top 87? picks) I see this as a great start to the free agency period for the Fins.

I say Draft one & sign keller, he drops less than Finley, & will be cheaper. FInley already said he wasnt taking a pay cut to packers. Clay, Keller Fasano, & draft a guy. CUt teh rest including Egnew, Fireland's boy!

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.

he needs to grab more TD catches, isnt he 6"3 or so why not throw a fade to him.

you forgot Brandon myers

this is a nice post

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