March 6, 2013

Miami Dolphins in talks to keep receiver Brian Hartline

The Dolphins, who can’t afford to lose their best receiver, are working on a long-term deal for Brian Hartline, who eclipsed 1,000 yards last season.

Keeping Brian Hartline remains high on the Miami Dolphins’ to-do list. reported Tuesday that Hartline and the Dolphins were close to a multiyear contract that would pay the team’s leading receiver between $6 million and $6.5 million annually.

However, a league source told The Miami Herald that while the two sides are deep into negotiations and have made some progress, no deal is imminent.

Hartline, who eclipsed 1,000 yards last year for the first time in his career, has been public about his desire to remain in Miami, and the Dolphins can’t exactly afford to lose receivers. Rather, it’s the biggest position of need for the team.

The Dolphins are expected to make a play for either Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings when free agency opens next week.

Teams can speak with other club’s free agents beginning Saturday, but cannot sign them to contracts for another three days.

The Dolphins have more than $35 million in salary cap space, even after applying the franchise tag Monday on Randy Starks.

•  Defensive tackle Paul Soliai underwent minor arthroscopic elbow surgery several weeks ago, but the injury is not believed to cause him to miss any time.

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