The Miami Dolphins have signed wide receiver Brian Hartline to a five-year deal, reportedly worth $30.8 million ($12.5M guaranteed).
“This was my decision and this is where I wanted to be so there was probably some sacrifices that had to be made to get to an even deal, but I’m happy, I think they’re happy and that’s really the sign of a good deal,” said Hartline, who may have been able to land a bigger contract on the open market.
“For me personally, I liked being here. The coaching staff I thought a lot of and I’m a guy that’s going to lay it out there every Sunday. I wanted to be somewhere where they wanted me and the player more than just the numbers, so I felt that was the case here and I thought that was important.”
Hartline, the Dolphins’ fourth-round pick in 2009, had the best season of his career in 2012 — despite missing offseason and preseason workouts due to an emergency appendectomy and a calf injury — catching 74 passes for 1,083. He became just the eighth receiver in Dolphins history to surpass 1,000 yards in a season.
He set a franchise record with 253 yards receiving in a Week 4 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Over his four-year career in Miami, Hartline, 26, has caught 183 passes for 2,753 yards and scored seven touchdowns (one rushing).
“Brian is an ascending player that has steadily improved over his first four years with the organization,” said Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland via statement. “He has represented himself positively both on the field and throughout the South Florida community.”
Prior to the signing, the Dolphins had approximately $36 million in available cap space. While this signing will dent that amount, the team is still expected to make a run at Pittsburgh Steelers free-agent wide receiver Mike Wallace. Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings, who Dolphins coach Joe Philbin worked with previously, may also be a target.
Hartline said he’s willing to help any way he can to lure free agents to south Florida.
“If they want me to hang out and tell them what’s great and what’s not and be real and really what we’re trying to do here,” Hartline said. “They could probably tell how sincere I am when I think we were getting close. So I’m hoping. As soon as I signed, I’m like look let’s go recruiting now. So I hope I’m invited to those dinners.”