After trading wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears, cornerback Vontae Davis to the Indianapolis Colts and electing to select QB Ryan Tannehill with their eighth overall pick, it became clear the beady eyes of the helmet-wearing porpoise were set only on the future. The Dolphins, however, became a surprisingly competitive group in 2012, finishing second in the AFC East and leapfrogging the trainwreck New York Jets and preseason darling Buffalo Bills. Their incredibly stout defense had a lot to do with that after finishing the season seventh in terms of points allowed, resting on the shoulders of premier pass rusher Cameron Wake and linebacker Karlos Dansby.
The offensive output, however, would have to come from something of an unknown. It would be silly to rely completely on the raw and unproven rookie quarterback, and even after coming off of a stellar 2011 campaign, the approach would have to extend beyond running back Reggie Bush.
Enter wide receiver Brian Hartline.
Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline compiled quite the résumé in 2012 after becoming the Dolphins' de facto No. 1 receiver, setting impressive career highs in his fourth year as a pro: 74 catches for 1,083 yards and a touchdown. Could Hartline be a feasible option for a Patriot team struggling to get younger at the position?
Why He's a Good Fit: Hartline is reportedly seeking a contract in the $5-$6 million per year range, and considering that's a shoot-for-the-moon figure likely instigated by his agent, he could very possibly be had for less than that.
Hartline is only 26 years old, and while his career numbers certainly aren't eye-popping, Hartline has never had the luxury of playing with one of the league's best at the quarterback position. At Ohio State he caught passes from Todd Boeckman and a freshman Terrelle Pryor, and after being taken 108th overall in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, he's been targeted by Chad Henne, Chad Henne, Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill. In the early goings of entering his athletic prime, Hartline put some incredibly solid numbers up with a quarterback many projected as one of the most unpolished in the draft.
Patriots Free Agent Target: Brian Hartline
Pats Pulpit | Jan 31