Ronnie Hillman is back with the Broncos after he signed a one-year contract worth $2 million in April, but he is expected to compete for playing time with C.J. Anderson and rookie Devontae Booker. Hillman led Denver in carries (207), rushing yards (863) and rushing touchdowns (seven) last season, and he also added 24 catches for 111 yards. But he was outplayed by Anderson down the stretch, including the playoffs, which should continue this year. Hillman still has value as the handcuff to Anderson if he stays ahead of Booker on the depth chart, and he's worth drafting with a late-round pick in that role. But if Booker is No. 2 on the depth chart then you can ignore Hillman in the majority of leagues.
Rookie fourth-rounder Devontae Booker could challenge for playing time, the Denver Post reports. The Broncos took Booker early on Day 3 despite resigning last year's tandem, C.J. Anderson and Hillman. Of the two, Hillman's short-term future is the most at risk. Anderson's front-loaded contract and strong playoff performance makes him the early favorite to start. Hillman was slated to be the lightning to Anderson's thunder, but Hillman's poor end to the season, he rushed for just 54 yards on 32 playoff carries, makes him vulnerable to a young challenger like Booker.
Hillman has signed a one-year deal to remain with the Broncos, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports. Now that Hillman is back in the fold, he'll work in a complementary role behind C.J. Anderson, whose four-year, $18-million offer sheet (from Miami) the Broncos elected to match. Also currently on the team's RB depth chart are Juwan Thompson, Kapri Bibbs and Cyrus Gray. In 12 games with Denver last season, Hillman logged 207 carries for 863 yards and seven TDs, while adding 24 catches for 111 yards in that span.
Hillman and the Broncos have discussed parameters of a new contract, The Denver Post reports. Hillman is currently an unrestriced free agent, but with underwhelming interest on the open market, his representatives have engaged with the Broncos on discussions for a contract to remain in Denver. While at this time it's unclear whether the parties will ultimately be able to strike a deal, the Broncos' four-year, $18 million investment in fellow running back C.J. Anderson this offseason may lead them to pursue an alternative cheaper than Hillman through the draft. That being said, Hillman started 12 total games last season and looked comfortable in coach Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme, rushing for a career-high 863 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season.
The Broncos and Hillman have reportedly exchanged contract proposals, 9news.com reports. More than a month into free agency, Hillman remains unsigned and given that he has been unable to land a lucrative deal elsewhere, a return to the Broncos is beginning to appear more and more plausible. If that happens though, Hillman would be in line to serve in a complementary role behind C.J. Anderson, with the report further suggesting that they Broncos are expected to add running back help via the draft later this month.
Coach Gary Kubiak relayed the Broncos would consider bringing Hillman back later this offseason, ESPN.com reports. With Hillman still unsigned this deep into free agency, such an outcome now looks plausible, though in such a scenario, he'd presumably be brought back for a complementary role behind C.J. Anderson, whose four-year, $18-million offer sheet (from Miami) the Broncos elected to match. Also currently in Denver's depth RB mix are Juwan Thompson, Kapri Bibbs and Cyrus Gray.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/02||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||15||16.88|
|6||10/14||@San Diego Chargers||30||21.50|
|8||10/30||San Diego Chargers||30||21.50|
|10||11/13||@New Orleans Saints||31||22.38|
|12||11/27||Kansas City Chiefs||4||13.44|
|15||12/18||New England Patriots||5||14.00|
|16||12/26||@Kansas City Chiefs||4||13.44|
|3 Year Avg||123||505||4||19||123||0||86|