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Miami Dolphins News: Sean Smith, Brian Hartline

After the Miami Dolphins unsurprisingly decided to use the franchise tag on valuable and consistent defensive tackle Randy Starks, the focus turns to the other high-profile free agents in cornerback Sean Smith, wide receiver Brian Hartline, tackle Jake Long, and running back Reggie Bush.

Smith is going to go after as much money as he can, and the young CB will probably be overpaid by a team in need of a CB and oozing at his potential. I view Smith as a talented but frustratingly inconsistent CB who has plenty of talent in man coverage but does get burned a bit too often and is a non-factor in run defense. So yes, that means he is a poor man’s Aqib Talib and is more of a Plan C for the New England Patriots with Talib likely being Plan A.

In any case, Smith does have undeniable talent even if it can be exaggerated. According to a source close to the Palm Beach Post, there is a “zero percent” chance of Sean Smith returning to the Miami Dolphins in 2013 and beyond. While that statement is certainly exaggerated, it underscores the fact that we almost certainly won’t be seeing Smith on the Dolphins.

Alex Marvez of FOX Sports is reporting that the Dolphins and ideal No. 2 wide receiver Brian Hartline are close to signing a deal that would pay Hartline $6 million to $6.5 million annually in a multi-year pact. It was reported earlier that Hartline was looking for $6 million per year over the course of three season, but that GM Jeff Ireland, who does not like negotiating over the prices he sets, thought that was too much. It now looks like the Dolphins are going to sign Hartline and give him what he wants.

It was reported yesterday by the Miami Herald that the Dolphins and Brian Hartline had mutual interest, as Hartline stated his desire to stay in Miami. Now, it sounds like that talk is turning into reality. Despite what will be a large commitment, the Dolphins are still expected to pursue Greg Jennings or another upper-echelon No. 1 wide receiver in free agency to pair with Hartline. The Dolphins want to give Ryan Tannehill as many weapons as possible, and that’s the best order of business for this team.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Brian Hartline Miami Dolphins NFL Free Agency Sean Smith

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