Brian Hartline had a 1000 yard breakout season last year, catching 74 passes for 1083 yards, after combining for 109 catches for 1670 yards in his first 3 years in the league after going in the 4th round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Ohio State. However, those numbers are deceiving. First, he only scored just once all season. Second, he was incredibly inconsistent. Close to a quarter of his production game in one game against Arizona, where he caught 12 passes for 253 yards and his only score on the season. Two weeks later, against St. Louis, he wasn’t even targeted. He had 5 games with 2 or fewer catches.
He was really only a 1000 yard receiver by default given how thin the Dolphins were at receiver. He was far and away better than the rest of their receivers, but that’s not saying much. He was heavily targeted, 118 times, and only 6 receivers were targeted more often and had fewer yards. He also provides very little after the catch, 3.4 yards per catch, and broke just 2 tackles all season. He is sure handed and had one of the league’s better catch to drop ratios, but all in all, he was just ProFootballFocus’ 37th rated receiver last year, not even taking into account his inconsistency.
The Dolphins are rightfully looking to spend big money on a #1 receiver to play opposite Hartline, allowing Hartline to serve as a solid, sure handed #2 opposite him. Given that and his one year of good production, 5 years, 30.775 million with 12.5 million guaranteed is a bit of an overpay (that’s low end #1 receiver money, considering Steve Johnson got 5 years, 36.25 million with 18.05 million guaranteed last off-season), but the Dolphins needed to bring back young Ryan Tannehill’s favorite receiver and they have some cap room to play with, so I don’t hate the move.