Browns Rumor: Brian Hartline Visiting Today; Good?
According to Pro Football Talk, a Cleveland Browns rumor says that wide receiver, and former Ohio State Buckeye, Brian Hartline is visiting the team today. Hartline was cut by the Miami Dolphins and, like Josh McCown, is free to sign at anytime. It looks like the Browns are going to get the first shot at him:
Hartline is from Canton, Ohio and could be another Cleveland area native to join the team as they attempt to rise back to competitiveness. Last year another former Buckeye and Cleveland area native Donte Whitner joined the Browns and had a positive impact.
The 28 year old Hartline still has years left in the tank but had a down year last year with the Dolphins. Standing at 6’2″ Hartline can play inside or out and was an important possession receiver for Ryan Tannehill in his first few seasons. In both 2012 and 2013 Hartline had over 70 catches for over 1,000 yards. He hasn’t been much of a touchdown threat, 4 is his career high in 2013, but his ability to move the chains is huge. Last year, in his down season, 27 of his 39 catches resulted in first downs.
For the Browns Hartline would be a #3 recieving threat. Andrew Hawkins, with his great route running, fills nicely as a #2 option but the Browns still will be in search of their top flight guy. Drafting a #1 makes a lot of sense at #12 in this year’s draft with Amari Cooper, Kevin White and DeVante Parker all considered to be able to fill that need.
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Hartline will likely come decently cheap but would be smart to get signed as soon as possible. Free agency has a ton of receiver available that could soak up much of the money, leaving Hartline to beg for scraps. The Browns might overpay him but a million a year, similar to McCown’s contract, but for them it might be worth it to start free agency out quickly.
Hartline will likely have other suitors but could sign as early as today once he sees the direction of the Browns, meets with Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine (McCown stated those two and the coaches really were the difference for him) and thinks about the chance to play near his hometown. Hartline could replace the veteran savvy of Miles Austin, though the Browns could look to bring him back as well.
While Hartline isn’t the top guy many hope the Browns would fine, he does fill a need. He is over six foot tall, can catch the ball and can play outside. Hartline would be a fine start to the Browns addressing their receiver needs this off-season.
What do you think about this Browns rumor and the chance for Brian Hartline to sign with the Browns?
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