Created on: February 19, 2013
The Miami Dolphins’ biggest off-season need is a top flight wide receiver. There is no doubt about this. Last season, Miami was ranked 26th in receiving yardage, 28th in 40-plus yard passing plays, and 30th in touchdown receptions. Those are terrible numbers for today’s “Air It Out” NFL.
The prevailing thought is that the Dolphins will go hard after free agents Mike Wallace and
Greg Jennings. Wallace is a speedster who can blow the top off a defense while Jennings is a savvy veteran who makes plays after the catch. If the Dolphins signed either player, they’d immediately upgrade their receiving corps and provide quarterback Ryan Tannehill with that “go-to guy” he sorely needs.
But NFL football is a team game and every offense needs at least two capable receivers to stretch the field, which is why the Dolphins should bring back Brian Hartline. While the former Ohio State Buckeye has recorded a paltry six touchdown catches over the past four seasons, he’s proven himself as a solid number two wideout, showcasing good hands and above average speed. Last season, he set career highs with 74 receptions and 1,083 receiving yards as he established himself as the Dolphins’ best receiver. Now, after that big season, Hartline and his agent are looking to cash in.
In today’s free agent market, Hartline should command at least $6 million per season. While that number may seem a bit steep for a number two receiver, the Dolphins should open up their coffers and pay. Miami’s current receiving corps outside of Davone Bess is quite thin and other teams, including the Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, and San Francisco 49ers, will gladly pay the going rate for an experienced and productive receiver like Hartline.
Of course, Miami could always spend its first-round draft pick on Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson or Baylor’s Terrance Williams. But both players are considered raw and they’re unlikely to provide the same immediate impact that Hartline would surely make. Furthermore, the Dolphins could better utilize their first-round pick to address other areas of need like cornerback, offensive tackle, and tight end.
Talk is cheap. If Miami wants to sell more tickets, generate buzz, and contend for a Super Bowl title, they’ll go out and get Wallace or Jennings; re-sign Hartline, running back Reggie Bush, cornerback Sean Smith, defensive tackle Randy Starks, and backup quarterback Matt Moore. Any other course of action would be unacceptable.
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