The Falcons announced the news of Hill’s signing from their official Twitter account.
The Falcons had placed an original-round tender on restricted free agent Hill hours after cutting Devonta Freeman.
Understanding the Terms
The NFL defines Restricted Free Agent:
A player with three accrued seasons and an expired contract. RFAs are free to negotiate and sign with any team, but their original team can offer them one of various qualifying offers (“tenders”) that come with the Right of First Refusal and/or draft-pick compensation. These amounts change by a minimum of 5 percent and a maximum of 10 percent (based on the salary cap) each League Year. Teams must submit these tenders before 4 p.m. ET on March 18.
(An accrued season is defined as a player being on a team for at least six regular-season games, although practice squad designation doesn’t count. The reserve physically unable to perform (PUP) list for non-football injuries also doesn’t count as an accrued season.)
Each team has four options for restricted agents. In Hill’s case, the Falcons chose an original-round tender.
The NFL defines an Original-round tender:
A one-year contract worth the greater of (a) $2.025 million or (b) 110 percent of the player’s prior-year base salary. Draft-choice compensation: a pick in the round the player was originally drafted in.
This means that Hill, who was a fifth-round draft pick for the Falcons in 2017 has an opportunity to be signed by another team. If he is, then the Falcons will receive a fifth-round pick as compensation. They also have the option to match any team’s offer on Hill.
Missed a Tender Deadline
According to ESPN Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure, Hill missed the deadline for another team to offer him a contract in which Atlanta would have had to match the deal or receive a fifth-round pick in exchange for Hill.
Since missing the deadline, another team can’t offer Hill a contract and the Falcons can’t trade him. He had until June 1 to sign the $2 million tender with the Falcons and clearly decided to a lot earlier.
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Next Man Up
Hill showed his worth last season after stepping in for Ito Smith and Freeman who were both injured.
Hill, 24, rushed 78 times for 323 yards and touchdowns last season. He caught 10 passes for 69 yards and one touchdown during the 2019 season.
He made his big impression against with a 26-9 win over the New Orleans Saints. Freeman suffered a foot injury in the first half of the game and was out for the rest. That’s when Hill stepped in.
The Falcons were looking to improve their run game and attack the Saint’s run defense, who were in the top-five at the time giving up an average of 84.3 yards per game. Atlanta finished with 143 rushing yards. 61 yards were from Hill.
Hill will see the field more this season since the Falcons have plans to rotate and accommodate Gurley’s knee problem.