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Brian Hartline: Dolphins have AFC East’s best receivers

Ryan Tannehill, Brian Hartline, Jonathan Martin

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) smiles at wide receiver Brian Hartline (82) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Miami. At right is tackle Jonathan Martin (71). The Dolphins won 24-3. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)


If you paid any attention to free agency this year, you know that the Dolphins made their receiving corps a priority.

They re-signed wide receiver Brian Hartline before anyone else could snatch him away and then landed Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson to go with him on the depth chart. It’s a big change from what the team had on hand last season and Hartline was asked whether the Dolphins have the best receiving corps in the AFC East during an appearance on the NFL Network.

“Absolutely, I think we are,” Hartline said. “Add Dustin Keller in there, Lamar Miller’s a great back and Daniel Thomas is a great back out of the backfield. The whole passing game is an advantage of ours.”

It’s not an outlandish statement. There’s not much competition from the Jets or Bills when it comes to receivers. The Patriots are still figuring things out at wide receiver, but their tight ends help make for a more difficult decision between the two teams.

Not that the winner of an offseason debate about the best receivers matters all that much. As Larry Fitzgerald would surely tell you, having the best receivers in the game doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have a quarterback who can get the ball to them. We know Tom Brady can get the ball to pretty much anyone who the Patriots send out to catch passes, but Ryan Tannehill doesn’t have Brady’s resume.

The expectation is that Tannehill will be much improved this season and the upgrade to the receiving corps is as big a reason why as any other. Should things work out as planned, the Dolphins will be a lot closer to answering questions about the best team in the AFC East than the far less significant ones about the best position group.