MIAMI -- Miami Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline capped the first 1,000-yard season of his career Sunday in a 24-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. While that is good news for Hartline, it is bad news for the Dolphins. Hartline will be an unrestricted free agent and his price tag continues to rise.
Hartline led the Dolphins with five receptions for 77 yards. He has 1,002 receiving yards this season and still has two weeks left to pad those numbers.
"It’s important to me," Hartline said of reaching a career mileston. "It’s always a goal that I wanted to reach. There's a lot of receivers who don't get that opportunity. ... It's a goal of mine that I've had for while."
Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has found Hartline all season, joked after the game about his top receiver's accomplishment.
"Hopefully I get a good Christmas present," Tannehill said. "As a quarterback, you like to elevate the guys around you, and I think he’s done a great job all year."
Hartline is one of several key free agents the Dolphins have in the offseason. Hartline joins left tackle Jake Long, cornerback Sean Smith, defensive tackle Randy Starks and tailback Reggie Bush as starters set to hit the open market.
Miami general manager Jeff Ireland has some tough decisions because all of these players will be looking for sizable extensions. Hartline's 1,000-yard season most likely puts him in the "keeper" category, especially since Miami is very thin at receiver.
"He’s been very productive," Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said of Hartline. "He's cashed in on most of his opportunities. He’s a hard worker, he prepares well, and I’m happy for him."
Hartline picked a good time to have a career year.
"I definitely put in the work," Hartline said. "They say good things come to people who work hard, and I definitely did as much work as I could."