Miami has resigned WR Brian Hartline to a 5-year deal worth $30.775 million with $12.5 million guaranteed. If there is anything we know, or should know about NFL contracts, is you can’t judge them on a surface level. You can’t just say it’s $6 million a year, especially when the details of contract haven’t been fully released yet.
In forming my own opinion, and gathering the opinions of Dolphins fans, my conclusions are this:
1. Miami did the safe thing. Letting Hartline hit free agency and risk having him walk would mean a rookie or lesser wide receiver manning a starting gig. Also, what happens if Wallace and Jennings go elsewhere? Now Tannehill has to work with rookies and potentially scrubs? Also Miami may have an idea of their limit to spend on Wallace/Jennings, now if they can’t sign either, at least they have an experienced WR to pair up with potentially a 1st round pick at WR.
2. Dolphins fans that like Hartline are happy he’s back and were terrified he’d go somewhere else, like Wes Welker, and go from being run-of-the-mill-guy to a star.
3. Dolphins fans that think Hartline is average at best, say the team overpaid, and GM Jeff Ireland is a clown and continues to ruin the team.
4. I think Hartline is a solid receiver, and now, a slightly overpaid one. He is still young, with good all-around ability. Perhaps with the development of Ryan Tannehill and the addition of other weapons will make him look like a bargain at this time next year. If building a strong supporting cast for Tannehill is the goal, it’s tough to justify letting Hartline walk in a very weak free agency class where he probably would have been the 4th best receiver available after Wallace, Jennings, and Welker. Resigning him gives Miami options. I wrote earlier in the week, Miami should explore all those options and not necessarily go all-in for Mike Wallace.
5. I agree with points on each side of the argument. It’s too early to say Jeff Ireland screwed up and is a lost cause though. Especially when the jury is still out on last year’s draft picks. Miami will be counting heavily on Tannehill, T Jonathon Martin, and RB Lamar Miller it appears. If those guys succeed with more opportunity, it will be tough to keep hammering the GM. We won’t fairly be able to judge after free agency or after the draft. Everyone has their own opinion of what is best for the Dolphins. I love that we all share our opinions along the way, but let’s be open-minded enough to see the team play this season and beyond be declaring any final judgements.