April 23, 2014

Hillis Will be Back if He Wants to Be Back

According to a report by Mary Kay Cabot yesterday Peyton Hillis might have done enough for the Browns to reverse previous course and consider bringing the big bruiser back.  While I don’t doubt that with Hillis’ late-season surge after finally getting healthy enough to get on the field, I am not sure how much exactly he has proven in terms of dollar signs.

In November Tony Zarella from 19 Action News reported that the Browns were offering three years for $16.5 million with $3 million fully guaranteed.  Other reports/rumors came from LeCharles Bentley that the Hillis camp was seeking somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million guaranteed.  Obviously at that time the Browns and Hillis’ people were very far apart.

They were so far apart, in fact, that it was thought prior to yesterday’s report that the Browns were letting Hillis walk without much of a fight and/or negotiation.  So now, assuming there is some truth to the report, what are the chances that this thing continues from rumor to wet ink on a signed contract?

It’s all on Peyton Hillis.  Assuming there is some truth to the numbers being reported, I would guess that Hillis proved enough that the Browns might even come up from their reported $3 million, but does anyone get the feeling that Hillis did enough that the Browns should guarantee a full $10 million over three years?  I certainly wouldn’t think there was enough evidence even in that Ravens game to close a $7 million gap.

So, if he wants to be back, he will be and probably at a pretty fair deal with plenty of incentives.  And maybe he will have just a bit more incentive to come back now that a slightly more run-heavy offensive coordinator is in place to give him a chance to earn those incentives in Brad Childress.

The free agency market can get a bit unwieldy though.  If Peyton Hillis wants to chase every last dollar, I’m thinking he might be able to find a couple more by working the market and finding someone intent on being a little less disciplined than the Browns have seemed to be in free agency since Tom Heckert has been in Cleveland.  Then again, what’s the upside of playing for a team like Washington that seemingly goes out chasing big names every year?  You’re the name one minute and then they’re looking to replace you in a heartbeat.

So where does Hillis want to play?  That’s the real question that will be answered soon.


An aside… Speaking of the Redskins…  There is no basis in truth for this rumor, but I’ve felt all along that the ‘Skins might be a destination for Hillis.  They don’t have any unimpeachable running backs on the roster and Hillis would be reunited with the coach that drafted him, Mike Shanahan.  He’d also be united with an an owner ($$$) that is freewheeling with the checkbook ($$$!!!) for free agents.  Who needs sources when you can connect big dots like that?

  • Anonymous

    I hope he comes back so we don’t have to draft a running back high….we need to spend those picks on WR and RT…

  • Anonymous

    Would it be fair for both sides to have an “incentives based” contract where based on his performance, he could earn some guaranteed money next year if he plays well this year with less guaranteed money this year? I think 16.5 is plenty for him. He should take that. I would not go higher.

  • Anonymous

    so before the season the Browns were worried that his injury issues might be problem, then he spent nearly the whole season injured.   I doubt he gets the Browns to up their offer all that much (maybe some of the guarantee goes up for the $ to go down but can be added back in through incentives?)

    amazing what some time does to heal things and get him back on the same page.  i hope that we do come to reasonable terms with Hillis because it is one less hole to fill (though we could still use a RB2).

  • Anonymous

    Disagree about WR there are a number of free agents as well as guys like Santonio Holmes and DeSean Jackson who may have worn out their welcomes with respective teams.  As far as RT goes, well that’s a different story.  Although one could most likely be had at #22.

  • Joemersnik


  • Anonymous

    and I love the middle-round WRs in this draft.  Criner is becoming my favorite the more I see of him (senior bowl – also heard his practices were great too but haven’t caught those yet on NFLN).

  • DrewDown

    Why is nobody mentioning the fact that the article by Mary Kay offers no new information beyond what was said at the end of the season?  She’s just stirring the pot with old lines from previous articles because she knows people are hungry for Browns news.  She’s the best at that.

  • Harv 21

    you want dots to connect? By chance yesterday heard a radio show caller say he was a limo driver and had just dropped Hillis off at IMG offices downtown.

    = New Browns offer in the air.
    = Offer taken seriously enough to justify a trip from the deep south.

    Done! Send to press.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see the Redskins as a suitor for Hillis.  They already have Helu who they drafted last year, Hightower who they signed last year and Ryan Torain.  If the “draft experts” projections of the Browns drafting RG3 as their first pick are true, you’ll need a solid RB to protect him.  I don’t see them not adding a veteran and unless somebody vastly overpays for Hillis, his best option would be in Cleveland.  I really hope they use one of their first round picks to get a RT and not use it to trade up 2 spots just to guarantee Griffin.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t blow this, Browns. Signing Hillis would solve one problem (on paper, at least) and leave us with the means to fix others. Find a way. Get it done.

  • Anonymous

    I am concerned that people think signing Hillis is a “problem sovler” at RB.  How long does he solve that problem.  He is an oft injured bruising running back that had a very solid coming out party two years ago. 

    He is an intriguing RB that when paired Brandon Jackson may make an impact IF he can stay healthy.   And the IF is a big one for me due to his injury track record not just here but in Denver as well.

    I see him as a good stop gap until you find the WCO type running back we are looking for…maybe Montee Ball next year…….but I wouldn’t over commit to him on any lengthy deals.

    Just my opinion.

  • Anonymous

    Has Hillis ever played a full 16 game season? 15? If I ignore how put off he has made Browns fans feel, I like the way that he plays. But he’s almost as fragile as Hardesty. 

  • Harv 21

    agree with this. Not to mention this is a guy who managed to create distractions all last season, team be damned. His physical talent makes him a good risk at the right price, but you’d have to assume he’s going to miss games every season.

  • saggy

    give him 3 years at 12 million with 4.5 guaranteed.  he is a good back when healthy.  a really good one.  don’t even try to compare him to jackson and hardesty.  this guy was all-pro level in 2010.  those guys are junk.

    just sign the guy.  you can cut him later if he gets hurt again.

  • Albert

    all set on team cancers #1 and #2

  • Ike

    Hillis certainly had a rough year, but there’s just no doubt the Browns are a better team with him on the field.  For a team with so many needs, it would absolutely kill me as a Browns fan to see the us let Hillis go and then draft Richardson at 4.  Too much trust in Heckert to see that happen, but I’m just saying.

    What would also kill me is to see him go to a place like Pittsburgh, as they want to revert back to a run-oriented offense.  Mendenhall will certainly miss a portion of next season after tearing his ACL on Jan 1 in Cleveland, and I really don’t think he fits into that classic Steeler RB mold; Hillis does.

    The title of the article says it all; if Hillis wants to be back, then he will.  I think it’s undoubtedly in the Browns best interest to keep him, but only at a reasonable price.

    We shall see..

  • Ike

    Good point but the bottom line is that Hillis is currently the Browns best offensive playmaker/skill position player.  For a team virtually devoid of offensive playmakers, you just can’t let him walk, within reason..

  • deuce

    I say OSU’s Mike Adams would do well here. But there is no reason or chance the Browns want Holmes or Jackson. They wore out their welcomes by acting like idiots.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I think we sometimes tend to get too attached to individual players around here.  If we can get him at a reasonable price, great.  If not, let him walk.

    Lets not limit our options by overpaying for a good (not great) RB.

  • Anonymous

    I would amend the story just a big to say Hillis will be back if his agent wants him back.

    As we’ve seen far too often, players rarely make these decisions, but rather let their agents lead them to the team that gives out the biggest paycheck, meaning the agent gets the biggest commission possible, which is all the agent cares about.

    Since Hillis is his what, third (fourth?) agent since joining the Browns, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    I do agree, though, that it seems reasonable that the Browns would want Hillis back at a fair price (I’ve thought that all along) and that Hillis would probably be open to returning.

    Hopefully Hillis is the one making the final decision and not his agent.

  • Floydrubino

    i could maybe seeing him go to the redskins but it might be tough for them to throw too much because of the emergence of roy helu. Also shanahan has that ego where he thinks he can get anyone to run for a lot of yardage.If you look at one of my prior posts awhile ago on peyton hillis I said almost the exact numbers they are talking about. Cleveland has some strange luck when a pretty good running back gets his face on the cover of madden to make his agent think he could win a pr campaign I guess or something to get him all that money. It was a tough situation for Hillis to be in because if you put yourself in his shoes and you see yourself on the cover you could easily view yourself as someone that is worth more than you really are worth. Then you get a greedy agent in the mix and there you go. All you can do is offer a fair deal with a lot of incentives for carries and yards and I would stay away from incentives on touchdowns because he might end up being used as a goal line back only in the near future.

  • Floydrubino

    I would definitely take a chance on desean jackson but not santonio holmes. 2 teams have given up on holmes already for a reason and I think philly would still like to have desean back but with their d-line issues they might go after a defensive tackle or linebacker this offseason. From what I hear now Mike Adams might not get past the 20th pick in the draft now so the browns might not even have a chance to get Mike Adams. One thing that has always confused me about the browns is don’t get me wrong you have to have a great offensive line(highest priority on team with quarterback) but cleveland has a really good chance to get offensive linemen through free agency. I would say that out of any position in the league that an offensive linemen is the easiest position to get for the browns through free agency. I am not totally against drafting offensive linemen but we could of got bryant mckinnie last year instead of tony pashos. He is not a home run player but all I am saying at some point we have to address getting those home run threats in the draft and if we can get a system in place where we are drafting close to #20 to take the chances on home run threats then we would not have to spend crazy money on the braylon edwards of the world where they leave such a sour taste in our mouths that we don’t go after a great receiver in the draft for years to come.

  • BrownsFanBrad

    Yes, bring Hillis back. Between Hillis, Ogbyana (sp?) and Brandon Jackson that should be an adequate enough backfield for  WCO. Not sure how much more “run heavy” the Browns will be with Childress as OC. I was under the impression that Shurmur is still going to call the plays.

  • Big Z

    Pfffft… If they’re talking about spending money like that, they should go ahead and get Matt Forte if he walks. I’ve pretty much written Hillis off to New England. Dude’s good but WOW. Talk about letting it go to your head.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Would love Forte here.  Make it happen.

  • Harv 21

    three (four?) agents over the span of one 7th round contract is hardly the sign of a player being led around by his agent. More likely the sign of a player fishing for an agent who says the sweet things he wants to hear. Just b/c agent takes the fall for the strep throat issue doesn’t mean Peyton is the aw-shucks hick being led around. This latest agent is probably worried sick that he’ll be the next one hired by Hillis who gets replaced before he’s paid.

  • Anonymous

    I do not necessarily agree that Hillis is our best offensive playmaker until Phil Dawson leaves. ;)

  • typo

    I agree. I would not touch Holmes. He has been a huge problem for the Jets on and off the field. Even with being a captain and being in a winning atmosphere. He is extremely selfish.

  • Anonymous

    we could not have gotten McKinnie.  he wanted to go to a place to a contender and as a starter.  that limited his selection.

    also, factor in that Baltimore is the NFL’s “the U” franchise which definitely helped push him there as well.

    why would he have come here?


    also, rare is it that you can truly fix OT through FA.  most teams re-sign the good OTs, so it’s better to look at the draft.   now, for RT, you can argue that the real value is in round2 or below.

  • Anonymous

    well, she’s the best at that now.  RIP Tony Grossi.

    (too soon?)

  • Anonymous

    man, we should get someone to start whispering in his ear that Mike Martz was the only one that respected him in Chicago.  Obviously, Martz was shown the door because he wanted Forte paid properly and the Chicago FO would have none of it.   Plus, they are going to put in a system that minimizes RB as much as possible.

    If only we knew of a writer who had an inordinate amount of time on his hands that was really good at creating senseless controversies.

    (too soon?)

  • Anonymous

    Very true

  • Chris

    No it wasnt too soon. 

  • Floydrubino

    it’s tough to get any player in the draft or free agency but if you can’t recognize how hard it is for cleveland to get a wide receiver, defensive end, top 5 running back, or cornerback in comparison to offensive linemen than i don’t know what to say. Over the last ten years cleveland has not produced one amazing quarterback, running back, wide receiver, or defensive end/linebacker in the league. Yes offensive linemen are tough to get but my point is by comparison cleveland landing a superstar skill player is going to be through the draft and not free agency. We signed Eric Steinbach a couple of years ago through free agency so it is possible to land linemen.

  • Anonymous

    I love this.  Seems like a low risk/high reward thing.  Even if they need to up the guaranteed money a little bit to get him to bite, it definitely seems like a winner. 

    Don’t forget the basic rule of the NFL: *Every* contract is a one year deal.  Period. 

    $16 mil might sound like a lot for a guy who had one good year, but if the Browns toss the money out there and get the 2011 Hillis, he’d never see Year 2 of the contract. If they toss the money and get the 2010 Hillis, he’d be worth every penny.

    The Browns simply have too many areas on the roster which are either ‘gaping holes’ (RT/WR) and/or ‘need of talent upgrade’ (RG, depth on defense, etc) to simply throw away a solid starter. 

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Thread hijacking?

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    3mil guaranteed sounds just right actually.

     * chronically injured.  (he has the calcium growth in his thigh.  it never goes away.  he’ll always contend with injuries.)
     * fumble-itis.  (i *think* he has smallish hands.  don’t know, but that’s what i think i see. if so, it too will never go away especially with the way he runs to contact [which is a strength of his].)
    i’d love to keep him, but i wouldnt invest in him like a cornerstone.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki


    st clair.

    no more right tackle free-agents.  mmm-kay?

  • BrownsReno

    Dont you guys get it? The browns don’t want Hillis… It’s just another smoke screen by H&H,, Just like RG3 coming to the Browns.The Browns wanted to lose this season thats why it was okay for Pat to call the plays and not hire a OC last year. Thats why the Julio Jones trade happened. Holmgren wants us to think he dont want Colt McCoy because he wants the Redskins to trade up to get RG3, After that happens… We got the kingdom!!!! #4 pick… We trade down a few and pick up a second pick in round 2. With our first pick ( at around 8 or 9th) we get Trent Richardson. Pick #22 and the new 2nd round pick we got in the trade down… we trade up in the 1st round and get a WR. And with our high 2nd round pick plus a late 5th or 6th round pick we move back into the 1st round and get a RT. Somewhere in the middle rounds we get a QB with size and a strong arm (Nick Foles). I don’t know if you know this but they are trading or cutting Seneca Wallace. He’s not a team player. He didn’t help mentor Colt and he thinks he can be the starter at his age. He lost the games he started last year.Colt will be the starter next year with Nick taking over the following year. H&H said it would be a 5 year plan. We need to trust holmgren…. He’s knows what hes doing. Lerner is in brea and can pull the trigger on H&H if the team dont get better this year. 

  • Floydrubino

    I am talking linemen in general. Sorry if you can’t understand what my point is. Name me the best quarterbacks,receivers,running backs, and defensive ends cleveland has had on their team. Overall a team like cleveland will not attract a skill player unless we throw the bank at them. We can however have the possibility to sign a linemen. If you can’t understand my point that’s cool, next time i will try to dumb it down for you.

  • Floydrubino

    Wow. You have all this inside info. How do you know that mckinnie would of not come. Did you know that most free agents when they leave want to play for a winner. Did you think the headlines would read “Mckinnie wants to play for a bad team”. That’s funny that you did not realize that most agents say their client wants to play for a winner.

  • Anonymous

    and Balt wanted him, had a starter spot open, was an obvious contender, and is the NFL destination for “the U” alumni.  

    Connect-4, I win :)

  • Floydrubino

    your wrong. We are cleveland fans . No one wins. (but now I officially have won)

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    im very pro o-lineman.  

    im the most pro o-lineman person you’ll meet on this board.

    ive researched the correlation between teams with 3+ all-pro o-lineman and dynasties.  

    i wouldve preferred not trading up for taylor and taking carimi last. 

    i have 15 o-linemen going in the 1st two rounds of this years draft.  (hint, there are more linemen available after mike adams.)

    i have no faith in free agent o-lineman as a strategy unless you’re willing to overpay.  (see steinbach.  see carl nicks this year.)

    otoh, i think heckert effectively tanked the season by not aggressively pursuing waters or gurode when steinbach was gone for the year.

    not sure patronizing is the way to go with me on this one, bro.

  • Floydrubino

    wasn’t trying to patronize you I was being serious. Learn how to read. Look at my comment about 4 up and I say ” One thing that has always confused me about the browns is don’t get me
    wrong you have to have a great offensive line(highest priority on team
    with quarterback) but cleveland has a really good chance to get
    offensive linemen through free agency” So don’t sit here and tell me how you are the most pro 0-linemen person here because most people know the significance of having great linemen. My point as with everything you have to know your team and capabilities. We have not landed a superstar skill player through free agency for so many years I can’t remember. We landed lecharles bentley and eric steinbach somewhat recently. So let me reiterate my point of  that we have a chance to get linemen in cleveland but basically have to draft skill players in order to have them because the they are not coming through free agency. You basically are making my point when you said we had a chance at waters and gurode through free agency.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    you said: “I would say that out of any position in the league that an offensive linemen is the easiest position to get for the browns through free agency”

    here’s your offensive tackle free agents.

    1. gaithers – back
    2. bell – knee
    3. backus – 34
    4. mackenzie – 32

    good luck with filling right tackle with a free agent.

    you said: “So let me reiterate my point of that we have a chance to get linemen in cleveland”

    yes, you have an excellent chance of getting shaeffer, st clair, pashos. this was my initial point.

    im out.

  • Floydrubino

    I am in shock that you think it would be easier to get a superstar/great player quarterback,running back, or wide receiver through free agency than a right tackle. They are all hard to get but go ahead and look at the list of skill players for the browns in the last 10 years. Go ahead and you take your right tackle and I’ll take like a desean jackson/chris johnson type player(both picked in the 20′s in draft) and then I can sign a decent right tackle and you can start mohammed massaquoi for your superstar player.

  • http://www.clevelandsports360.com/ CS360

    What you should be saying here is Hillis will be back if he doesn’t get a better offer from another team. It will be very interesting to see what the free agency market brings to Hillis.