If reports are accurate, the SoFlo Sea Mammals are about to sign Brian “Crazylegs” Hartline to a contract that will pay him just under $7million per year. We don’t yet know how the deal is structured. It may have an “out” that would allow Miami to cut the cord early. However, on it’s surface it seems like too much.
Don’t get us wrong, we like Hartline in a “Little Engine that Could” kind of way, but his numbers were clearly boosted by an offense with no other options. His touchdown totals for his career are laughable. For an offense that needs to score more points, this is a lot of money for the same old same old.
We’re still the favorites for Mike Wallace, which would add a fantastic deep threat for a quarterback more than capable of buying his WRs an extra second or two. Still, we think giving this Hartline money to freakish free agent TE Jared Cook (not expected to make much more than $7m) or Greg Jennings (who seems to be overestimating his earning power heading into free agency) would have made our offense much more potent. Ask yourself: How much do our opponents really have to game plan for Hartline?
This is a fabulous year to pick a wideout in the 2nd or 3rd round. With Long most likely gone (and overpaid) next season, we may have to go with the best LT prospect available in round 1 (Lane Johnson could be there, and FSU’s Menelik Watson’s stock is rising by the second). So how about Justin Hunter in the 2nd? Deandre Hopkins? Terrance Williams? Strange year to spend big on a middling wideout with so many intriguing rookies (with rookie deals) at the position.
The broader view? This league is changing. It is a passing league. Wideouts and tight ends are given every chance to make plays. Defenses are penalized in massive chunks just for breathing on receivers. Seven of the top eight scoring offenses in football don’t have ONE Pro Bowl caliber target on the field at a time. They’ve got two. Is this the best time to be satisfied with Brian Hartline as our #2?
Would we desperately miss Hartline with Wallace on one side, Bess in the slot, Cook at TE, and Rishard Matthews and Justin Hunter battling it out for playing time on the opposite side?
We don’t think so. And when you’re considering cutting a dude a check for seven big ones, “How much would we really miss him?” is probably the first question to ask.
GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose