The New England Patriots are the latest team to register an interest with wide receiver Brian Hartline, reports revealed today.
Jumping to the front of the queue
Hartline was recently allowed to hit the free agent market by the Patriots' divisional rivals the Miami Dolphins who were unwilling to pay his $5.9 million 2015 salary.
Since then a host of teams have been linked with a move for the wideout, but it appears that the current Super Bowl champions may hold the advantage over the likes of the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans.
According to reports from The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Hartline would be willing to play for less in New England simply in order to link up with four-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady.
Hartline would have to beat off competition for targets from a fairly extensive list of wide receivers currently on the Patriots depth chart however.
As well as Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, the Patriots have Danny Amendola under contract for next season and Aaron Dobson (currently recovering from yet another injury issue) can be added to that list alongside Josh Boyce.
There is growing speculation though that Amendola may be let go by the Patriots during the offseason meaning a move for Hartline would be a simple replacement job.
Brian Hartline has already visited the Browns and has a trip to Houston lined up today. However the calibre of quarterback at those two franchises - the Browns recently signed veteran Josh McCown while the Texans' starting QB is unclear - pails in comparison to the future Hall of Famer in New England.
It appears then, that should Bill Belichick get serious in his bid to add to the WR corp, that the Patriots wouldn't face too many issues bringing on board the former Dolphin.
Patriots fans will have fond memories of the last wide receiver that arrived from Sun Life Stadium, with Wes Welker having racked up 37 touchdowns in six seasons with the Pats after arriving from Florida in 2007.
Career to date
Just how far Hartline is willing to drop his wage demands could be the deciding factor here.
Coming of the back of a poor 2014 season in which he managed just 474 yards it is unlikely he will accrue the $5.9 million that was heading his way in Miami.
The 28-year-old Ohio native does has shown the ability to be a role playing receiver however, completing two straight 1,000 yards seasons for the Dolphins in 2012 and 2013.
What do you think Patriots fans? Would Hartline be a good fit, or does Amandola deserve another chance? Let us know in the comments section below...
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