We can now put the “will he or won’t he” question to rest. Stephen Ross through sources to the Miami Herald has decided to keep Jeff Ireland for another season. According to Barry Jackson of the Herald, a team source informed him that Ross saw enough improvement in this team with a rookie QB to give Ireland another year.
Most fans won’t like the outcome and hoped that Ireland would be gone. For the team however, the retention of Ireland may be a good thing. Ireland will, for the first time, have more draft picks than in years past and a free agency budget bigger than any year in his past five with the Dolphins.
It’s uncertain who Ireland will target in free agency or if he will take the Green Bay approach and build through the draft and fill in pieces through the feeding frenzy known as free agency. It’s likely that he will remain steadfast in not overpaying high priced veterans. Instead looking to fill needs with team first type players. With WR and CB the top two major needs for the franchise, Ireland will also need to gain an edge rusher on defense as well address his own list of free agents.
One of which is Brian Hartline.
Hartline missed almost all of the off-season workouts due to an appendectomy and thus missed most of training camp. At one point it was rumored that new head coach Joe Philbin may part ways with Hartline given his absence. That did not happen and despite the lack of work with rookie QB Ryan Tannehill, Hartline put up his best statistical season of his career.
Hartline eclipsed the thousand yard mark on Sunday and now sits at 1,002 for the season. His first season over the mark. He did it on 67 catches but the downside to his season is the fact that he only touched the endzone once the entire season. The fact that the Dolphins lack a true number one WR speaks volumes for the speedy yet undersized wide-out. The Dolphins did not hide the fact that Hartline was their go to guy and defenses still couldn’t completely shut him down.
It’s likely that the Dolphins will open contract talks with Hartline and other free agents soon. The Dolphins season is set to end in two Sunday’s barring a collapse of other seeded teams ahead of them. The Dolphins will then begin the task of fixing the holes that are left all over the roster.