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?