The Miami Dolphins found Brian Hartline expendable after a disappointing 2014 season, but the possession receiver had little trouble finding a new team as he has signed with the Cleveland Browns.
Continue for updates.
Hartline Signs with Browns
Monday, March 9
On March 6, Rosenhaus spoke about Hartline's free agency, saying the Dolphins, Chiefs, Browns and Texans were among the interested teams, according to ESPN's James Walker.
On March 4, Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com reported Hartline and the Browns were "in discussions," despite the wide receiver visiting elsewhere.
On March 3, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk first reported Hartline began his free agency by visiting the Browns.
Patriots Reportedly Show Interest in Hartline
Thursday, March 5
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reported that a source close to Hartline revealed the New England Patriots have shown interest in the veteran wideout.
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com provided some insight into Hartline's decision:
Mary Kay Cabot @MaryKayCabot
Hartline will take less $ to play w/ a QB such as #Patriots Brady, will require more $$ to play w/ a #Browns McCown or #Texans Mallet2015-3-5 21:01:35
Hartline Will Visit Bears; Hopes to Decide Within 24 Hours
Wednesday, March 4
Florio reported that Hartline plans to visit the Bears on March 4 and hopes to decide between the interested teams within the next 24 hours:
On Tuesday, free-agent receiver Brian Hartline visited the Browns. On Wednesday, the Hartline heartland tour takes him to Chicago, for a visit with the Bears.
Per a league source, Hartline will visit Halas Hall later today. His visit to the Browns went well, and other teams remain interested. Hartline hopes to decide on his next team within the next 24 hours.
Interested teams include the Dolphins, who cut Hartline last week in lieu of paying him $5.9 million in 2015.
Hartline Declined in 2014 but Still a Low-Risk Free-Agent WR
Tuesday, March 3
Hartline tallied 70-plus catches and 1,000-plus receiving yards during both the 2012 and '13 seasons, but he took a major step back to rookie Jarvis Landry and tight end Charles Clay in 2014. Despite starting all 16 games, he finished with just 39 receptions and a career-low 474 yards.
A lack of targets (63, down from 131 and 133 the previous two years) certainly had something to do with the drop in production, but his grade from Pro Football Focus also declined dramatically:
Pro Football Focus @PFF
What a difference a year made for Brian Hartline: http://t.co/nNwiwK9yu92015-2-27 15:18:50
Still, while it may be too much to expect another 1,000-yard season, he's only a year removed from a productive campaign as a solid role player. It's fair to expect that a change in environment will help him look more like the 2013 Hartline rather than the 2014 Hartline.
Bleacher Report's Michael Schottey touched on that:
Michael Schottey @Schottey
A lot can happen, but definitely feel at the moment that Brian Hartline will be better w/o the Dolphins than vice versa.2015-2-28 14:34:25
Hartline isn't a star, but he can be a dependable receiver who can move the chains and do a lot of work between the 20s. More importantly, he was reportedly willing to take a pay cut with Miami, so he shouldn't come at an unreasonable price.
Even as he comes off a down year, Hartline is a low-risk option who should have a number of suitors among teams looking to build depth at wide receiver.