The Miami Dolphins had a busy day on Friday as they released two of their wide receivers - Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson. Hartline was scheduled to make $7.35 million in 2015 and based off his performance last season in Bill Lazor's offense, it seemed inevitable that his release would only be a matter of time. By releasing Gibson, the Dolphins will incur $1 million dollars in dead money but will save $3.26 million. He was entering the last year of his contract this season.
“We want to thank Brian and Brandon for their contributions to the organization,” said Miami Dolphins General Manager Dennis Hickey. “We wish them the best going forward.”
After catching over 1,000 yards in both 2012 and 2013 in Mike Sherman's offense, Hartline only had 474 receiving yards in 2014. Hartline was the definition of a possession receiver - catching many passes but always struggling to find the end zone. In fact, he only has 12 touchdowns in his six years with the Dolphins.
Since the cut was made before the new league year begins on March 10, the Dolphins cannot designate this as a post-June 1 cut. Instead, they will incur a cap hit of $4.2 million this season and will save $3.2 million of his $7.4 million dollar salary. After this season, his salary will no longer be on the books.
Gibson came to the Dolphins 2013 to play the slot receiver position but has battled injuries in the past two years. In 2013, he played in seven games and had 30 receptions for 326 yards. In 2014, he played in 14 games and had 51 receptions for 295 yards. His role greatly diminished when Jarvis Landry became the primary slot receiver just a few games into the season.
What's next for the wide receiver corps? Jarvis Landry is a lock to stay and Rishard Matthews will most likely be back with the team. Matt Hazel was on the practice squad last year and will compete for a position on the unit this coming summer. The big question is Mike Wallace and whether or not he will be back with the team. It is widely expected that he will not return either but things can change as Dennis Hickey prefers that the team keeps him while Joe Philbin doesn't want him any longer. Mike Tannebaum will have the final say on this matter but it's not known which way he is leaning.
We'll see where they go from here and whether or not they will target a wide receiver in free agency or the draft.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs