Coming in to the 2014 season Miami Dolphins wide reciever Brian Hartline had been the teams leading receiver for two consecutive seasons. In 2012 Hartline caught 74 balls for 1,083 yards, a 14.6 yard average and only one touchdown. Last season he caught 76 balls for 1,016 yards, a 13.4 yard average and four touchdowns. This season he has caught 31 balls for 360 yards with a career low 11.6 yards average per catch and only one touchdown. At his current pace Hartline is only on pace for 523.6 receiving yards or about half of what he has produced the previous two years.
This season thing have changed dramatically for Hartline. Under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor the team has not only become more balanced but has also started leaning heavier on other wide-outs including rookie receiver Jarvis Landry. Landry has not only more yards at this point than Hartline with 450 but also has 5 touchdowns through 11 games which is more then Hartline has ever scored in any single season as a pro. After 11 games Landry is projected to put up 654.5 yards and 7 touchdowns. But of course this does not tell the whole story for Jarvis as he seems to be more and more a part of the offense each week not to mention his league leading 30.7 return yards per return on kick off returns.
The teams highest paid wide receiver, Mike Wallace is finally leading the team in receiving yards with 592 yards and in touchdowns with 7. Wallace is on pace for 861 yards and 10 touchdowns. Also picking up a bit of the slack is Charles Clay. Despite Clay seeming to vanishing at times and battling injuries most of the season he is only 14 yards behind Hartline with 346 total yards on the season. Clay has also doubled him up to this point in the touchdown race with two. Also besting Hartline in the receiving touchdown category to this point is Rishard Matthews who like Clay also has two scores.
One thing that many Dolphins fans agree on is the need for either a true big bodied wide receiver or a stud tight end to take the pressure off of Ryan Tannehill in the redone. A reasonable expectation in the off-season would be that the Miami Dolphins new general manager Dennis Hickey would make finding that hard to impossible to stop offensive weapon a priority. This team has more then a few needs but most would probably agree that this one in particular has become a priority. Also if this does not happen I fear that we may see CT on the news after being involved in what I will at this point only describe as an "incident".
With all of that in mind and the nice big cap number that Brian has in 2015 ($7,350,000) do you think the Dolphins should keep Hartline or move on from him? Keeping him on the roster of course costs us the 7.35 million cap hit. If we cut him his cap hit will still be 4.2 million with a 3.15 million cap savings. If they cut him after June 1st or "designate" him as a June 1st cut his cap hit will only be 1.4 million with a 5.95 million savings against the cap. If they could somehow trade him we would still take a cap hit of 1.4 million and his new team would be on the hook for his 5.9 million salary in 2015 and 6.1 million in 2016 and 2017. Of course the new team could cut him after any season with no further monies counted against them. The only other option would be of course to ask the player to renegotiate his deal which some players will do but many others will not even consider.
A Tip O' The Hat to Shauny who when not giving me migraines provides me with good ideas for future posts.