The Miami Dolphins are close to finalizing a deal with one of their own top free agents.
A source told FOXSports.com that Brian Hartline and the Dolphins are nearing agreement on a contract that would keep the wide receiver from hitting the free-agent market. The multiyear deal would average between $6 million and $6.5 million a season, the source said.
Hartline’s agent Drew Rosenhaus was unavailable for immediate comment.
A 2009 fourth-round draft pick from Ohio State, Hartline is coming off his best NFL season. He had 74 catches for 1,083 yards and one touchdown in 2012.
If the deal cannot be finalized, the 26-year-old Hartline would be attractive in a free-agent class lacking depth at wide receiver behind Pittsburgh’s Mike Wallace and Green Bay’s Greg Jennings. Hartline, though, is believed to want to stay with the Dolphins.
At roughly $38 million under the salary cap, the receiver-starved Dolphins could sign Hartline and still make a run at Wallace or Jennings when the free-agent signing period begins March 12.
Rosenhaus can begin negotiating with other teams Saturday if a deal with the Dolphins isn’t completed by Friday night.