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Brian Hartline to visit Browns today

Josh Alper at PFT reported this morning that Canton native and former Buckeye Brian Hartline is visiting with the Browns today.

The 2009 fourth round draft choice of Miami had a rough year for the Dolphins where he saw his role reduced in their offense and ended up with a mere 39 receptions for 474 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, that one rough year followed 2 fantastic seasons where he had 150 receptions for 2099 yards and 5 touchdowns.

The outstanding route runner with great hands is turning 29 years old, but he could be an upgrade from Miles Austin for the offense of the Browns.

Also, of note, is that if he signs, then he would be the second cut player to sign before the NFL calendar year officially opens on March 10th. According to OvertheCap, the Browns are not in line for any 2015 compensatory draft picks. I cannot find firm confirmation, but based on the rules for compensatory picks it appears that signing a free agent during this timeframe may not count against the Browns or only count against the 2015 NFL year. If so, it would be a nice loophole of which to take advantage.

Edit: The great folks at OverTheCap (Nick Korte in particular) have responded to my inquiry about how SFA like Josh McCown and Brian Hartline are treated by NFL compensatory rules. Here you go:

McCown won’t count against the Browns in either year. For 2016, signing SFAs like McCown or Hartline could possibly help the Browns in losing more UFAs than they gain. Time will tell!

At the same time, ESPN is reporting that the soon to be 34 year old Andre Johnson is seeking a trade from the Texans to a team that he feels is a contender for the Superbowl next season.

  • RGB

    Not bad, if we can get him cheap.

    Soooo, when is Suh visiting?

  • mgbode

    NFL Free Agency does not begin until March 12th. Only players who have been cut can visit and sign before that date.

  • RGB

    I thought it was the 10th at 4:00.

  • Garry_Owen

    I would do this in a heartbeat (if the price is right). In addition to being an “outstanding route runner with great hands” (i.e., “white”), Hartline is also very FAST. He has been the fastest guy on every team he’s played on (OSU and MIA). This gives us a legitimate vertical threat that we haven’t had in a while.

  • woofersus

    Would be a nice move as long as he’s really the Austin replacement and not the Gordon replacement. He needs to be opposite somebody who stretches the field and keeps the defense honest because he won’t stun anybody athletically, but guys who run great routes and have great hands are vital on 3rd down.

  • Garry_Owen

    He is the guy that stretches the field. Don’t let his level of melanin fool you.

  • mgbode

    you only mentioned visiting, so you are correct. that is when the 3-day “hosting” period begins. no one can sign until the 12th.

  • woofersus

    Perhaps my eyes have deceived me. I admit I haven’t watched him a ton. I always thought of him as sort of a tweener in terms of physical characteristics – middle of the pack height and middle of the pack speed. The kind of guy who Peyton Manning or Tom Brady would turn into a star because he’s fast enough and big enough to make his hands and route running a real asset, but won’t singlehandedly beat a defense on a mediocre team.

    I could be wrong, and if so I’d like to upgrade my opinion from “buy” to “must buy.”

  • mgbode

    Mike Wallace was Miami’s main deep guy though. Hartline has had a better YPR (yards per reception) with the Dolphins but mostly because he gets those mid-range slant patterns that he is good at breaking for big gains. Hartline is a fast WR, but it is his prestine cuts on routes that has given him the good NFL career that he has.

    Miles Austin or Joe Jurevicious with much more speed is a good way of looking at what he can provide though.

  • Garry_Owen

    I have long thought that Hartline is the most fascinating player in the NFL. I followed him closely at OSU; was frankly surprised when he chose to forego his senior year and actually got drafted; but have watched his stats in MIA closely. He certainly is middle of pack in size and height, but he has been one of the fastest players on every team he’s been on (though his official 40 times don’t show it – he’s got “Jerry Rice” speed). MIA used him extensively as the deep threat before Mike Wallace.

  • Garry_Owen

    Hartline was the deep guy before Wallace, though – which is probably why they cut him. His main strength became obsolete. I love that he adds great route running and hands to that mix. If the choice is between two Buckeyes (Ginn or Hartline), I’ll take Hartline every day, for the reasons you state in addition to his sneaky speed.

  • Sam Gold

    March 7-10: Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2014 contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 10. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 10.

    March 10: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2015 on all players who have option clauses in their 2014 contracts.

    March 10: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.

    March 10: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2014 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.

    March 10: Top-51 Begins. All clubs must be under the 2015 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    March 10: All 2014 player contracts expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    March 10: The 2015 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    March 10: The first day of the 2015 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 10. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 10.

    March 10: Trading period for 2015 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2014 contracts.

    I believe FA’s can sign beginning at 4:01 on 3/10. The three day hosting begins on 3/7.

  • Natedawg86

    I would flip a 2 headed coin to decide and call Heads for Hartline

  • Natedawg86

    You know Gordon is suspended this season right?

  • Natedawg86

    AND he can catch the ball lol

  • Garry_Owen

    An underappreciated skill in Cleveland.

  • miami de

    Watch Miami trade Hartline to another team and become a star over night that’s what Miami is good for I hate the dollphins since they changed their gay ass logo they need a complete face lift from the players to the front office

  • mgbode

    Hartline did just fine in 2013 with Wallace. He was cut because Jarvis Landry took his job and the Dolphins are up against the cap. I agree that I would take Hartline over Ginn each time.

  • mgbode

    Thank you. Had seen March 12th referenced in several spots. Anyway, updated the article for March 10th and also added a note that I received back from OtC on the cap rules.

  • Pat Leonard

    Miami would have to re-sign Hartline to do that. They cut him, he’s a free agent.

  • Pat Leonard

    I’d love to have him. He’s not really a threat in the red zone, but he’d do wonders in helping our team to actually GET to the red zone. At which point, feed the CROW.

  • RGB

    Jeremy Maclin will be available.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Dare 2 dream.

  • tigersbrowns2

    considering the current WR’s on the roster , hartline would immediately be the best receiver on the team (my apologies to andrew hawkins). go get him & start with that.

  • RGB

    And Suh.

  • woofersus

    I have heard, yes. Hence the need for a Josh Gordon replacement. I didn’t mean to imply I hope we don’t replace Gordon. I hope we also replace him, but with somebody in the draft more physically like him than Hartline.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Wet dreams are made of these who am I to disagree!!!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    He’s not a #1 if the Browns signed him & Ginn then drafted Parker I’d feel better. But Hartline is a compliment not a primary IMO.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi TRS … ginn & parker aren’t on the roster yet. that would make hartline the best receiver on the squad … well , him & hawkins.