Free Agent Focus with Insider insight: WR Brian Hartline

Jim Rogash

We put Dolphins free agent receiver, Brian Hartline, in our sights with the added with the added point of view of a Dolphins writer to lend some insight.

There has been a shortage of dependable wide receivers in Oakland these days. It was evidenced by two of the Raiders top receivers, Denarius Moore and Rod Streater, holding the dubious distinction of among the worst dropped ball offenders.

Darrius Heyward-Bey has speed for days but his hands and deep threat ability have always been suspect. It may be the team must part ways with him due to his bloated salary.

Hartline would add an element the Raiders don't currently possess. He isn't a deep threat who will stretch the field but in his first 1000-yard season last year he proved to be the saving grace for rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and he could offer a similar target for Carson Palmer.

Here is what Kevin Nogle of Dolphins blog, The Phinsider had to say:

Good number two type wide receiver, with the speed and elusiveness to get deep when warranted. He isn't going to be a burner, run a fly route and I will try to overthrow you receiver, but he can get deep between his speed and his route running. He broke 1,000 yards last year because he was really the Dolphins only receiving threat, especially when Davone Bess was injured. However, he only scored one touchdown on the year. Teams started rotating coverage his way, and it forced Ryan Tannehill to throw to other, less reliable, receivers.

The main knock Dolphins fans will have with Hartline is his lack of yards after the catch. He tends to fall down more than he runs. Part of that could be Tannehill putting the ball just beyond where Hartline could catch it in stride, but it does seem like Hartline rolls through his catch more than he tries to catch it on the run.

Of all the free agents the Dolphins have this year, Hartline is the top priority for the team to re-sign. He might hit the open market, just to set his price, but I would expect him to be back in Miami next year.

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