With defensive tackle Randy Starks getting the franchise tag from the Dolphins on Monday, the team’s other free agents took another step toward hitting the open market next week.
While the outlook for retaining cornerback Sean Smith and tackle Jake Long doesn’t look great, things are a bit more promising on the wide receiver Brian Hartline front. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that both the Dolphins and Hartline believe they can reach agreement on a new contract before the start of free agency.
As of now, the sides still haven’t found a number that makes them both smile. Hartline is thought to be asking for something in the neighborhood of $6 million per season, which can’t be dramatically different from what the Dolphins are willing to pay if there’s still a thought that an agreement can be forged in the next eight days.
As for Long and Smith, both players are now expected to hit the open market with any return to Miami coming if they’re unable to find offers to their liking. Running back Reggie Bush falls into the same camp, but it doesn’t really seem like the Dolphins have all that much interest in continuing their relationship with Bush.