Dolphins Sign Hartline And Moore

Posted Mar 8, 2013

Veteran quarterback and receiver were keys to offensive chemistry.

Looking to build on the cohesiveness that was formed on offense last season, the Miami Dolphins re-signed wide receiver Brian Hartline and veteran quarterback Matt Moore to multi-year deals today.

Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

“I am excited that we have been able to reach an agreement with both Brian and Matt to keep them as members of the Miami Dolphins,” Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland said. “Brian is an ascending player that has steadily improved over his first four years with the organization. He has represented himself positively both on the field and throughout the South Florida community.

“Matt has been a valuable contributor to the Dolphins ever since he arrived two seasons ago. We are happy we were able to resign him, and we think he combines with Ryan Tannehill and Pat Devlin to give us an outstanding group of quarterbacks.”

Hartline is coming off of his best season as he became just the eighth player in franchise history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards and finished 2012 as the team’s leading receiver. The former high school track star developed an immediate chemistry with rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and caught 74 passes for 1,083 yards and a touchdown.

“This was my decision and this is where I wanted to be so there was probably some sacrifices that had to be made to get to an even deal, but I’m happy, I think they’re happy and that’s really the sign of a good deal,” Hartline said. “We obviously had growing pains last year but coming back and still being associated with the organization and being able to grow from that makes it worthwhile. If you start over from scratch again then it’s different but to build a foundation with all new people and new systems in one year and succeed is pretty rare, so our growing pains are valuable at this point.

“For me personally, I liked being here. The coaching staff I thought a lot of and I’m a guy that’s going to lay it out there every Sunday. I wanted to be somewhere where they wanted me and the player more than just the numbers, so I felt that was the case here and I thought that was important.”

Just as important in Tannehill’s development as his rapport with the starting offense was the mentorship he received from Moore. He was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player after the 2011 season, completing 210-of-347 passes for 2,497 yards, 16 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, but never lowered his head after losing the starting job and enjoyed the new regime of Head Coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.

“I’m excited obviously and going into it I always knew Miami was a place that I could possibly land and I knew it was a place I wanted to be,” said Moore, who finished 2011 with a passer rating of 87.1. “Just really after thinking about and doing some research on different things, to get it done is awesome. Moving forward I think this team is definitely going places and there are big things to come. I didn’t want to miss out and not be a part of it and I wanted to continue to play with Ryan and play for guys like Coach Philbin, Sherm and Zac Taylor.

Moore became like an extra coach to Tannehill, especially during the early part of the 2012 campaign when Tannehill was still adjusting to the speed of opposing defenses. He also stayed sharp in practice and proved that he could be effective at a moment’s notice at the New York Jets in Week 8, replacing an injured Tannehill in the first quarter and leading the Dolphins to a 30-9 victory. Moore completed 11-of-19 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown in the win.

During a Week 4 overtime loss at the Arizona Cardinals, Hartline set a franchise record with 253 receiving yards on 12 catches, including an 80-yard touchdown reception. He had two other 100-yard games, against Oakland in the home opener at Sun Life Stadium in Week 2 (9 catches for 111 yards) and at Indianapolis in Week 9 (8 catches for 107 yards), bouncing back from an emergency appendectomy and a calf injury that forced him to miss all of Miami’s training camp. In four seasons he has reeled in 183 passes for 2,753 yards and six touchdowns for an average of 15.0 yards per catch.

“It’s kind of been a whirlwind I guess and it’s amazing how quick you can forget,” said Hartline of his journey over the past year. “I had kind of put it behind me and then I had my girlfriend, my family members and even my agent reminding me that year ago they were visiting me in the hospital and didn’t know if I was even going to be on the team. So it’s all about perseverance and part of the sport.”

The Dolphins selected Hartline in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Ohio State University and he had a solid rookie campaign, catching 31 passes for 506 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran the ball four times for 29 yards and a touchdown and followed that up in 2010 with 43 receptions for 615 yards, one touchdown and two rushes for 27 yards in just 12 games. In his third season in 2011, Hartline started 10 of the 16 games he played in and caught 35 passes for 549 yards and a touchdown.

Moore was signed as a free agent on the first day of training camp in 2011 after spending first four years with the Carolina Panthers. He was brought in as a backup to Chad Henne but moved into the starting role after Henne suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in a Week 4 loss at the San Diego Chargers. Moore helped Miami recover from a 0-7 start to finish 6-10 and earned the respect of his teammates and coaches.

“Obviously, I felt really good here last year in the offense and knowing that I had a chance to come back and continue to learn and continue to grow under great coaches was a key,” Moore said. “Zac and I have a great relationship so I obviously I wanted to come back and play for them. Coach Philbin talks a lot about people and relationships and to be honest that was a huge part of it for me. The people here are so good and I learned a lot last year so I figured what could two more years here do for me, so it made sense.”

By signing Hartline and Moore one day before the league’s three-day window for negotiating with free agents begins the Dolphins have now locked up three of their own unrestricted free agents. They designated defensive tackle Randy Starks with the franchise tag on Monday, and now the team can explore other options in free agency.

“Matt and I are buddies so we were talking back and forth about if it was going to work out and it did,” Hartline said. “It’s good that he’s here too, and now I can help recruit. One thing I am not short on is talking so if they want me to help out and talk about what’s great here I’ll do it. As soon as I signed I was like, ‘Let’s go recruit now,’ so I hope I’m invited to some of those dinners.”

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