Falcons Running Back Missed Deadline to Sign Tender?

Brian Hill

Getty Matt Ryan #2 hands the ball off to Brian Hill #32 of the Atlanta Falcons.

A day after the Falcons cut Devonte Freeman, Atlanta placed an original-round tender on running back Brian Hill.

What the heck does that mean?

It 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.

According to ESPN Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure, Hill still has yet to sign his tender. On Friday, 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.

Now no other team can offer Hill a contract. However, he has until June 1 to sign the $2 million tender to stay in Atlanta. Since Hill didn’t pique interest from other teams, he most likely won’t be going anywhere. If he doesn’t sign the tender, he will become a free agent.

Hill Made Quite the Impression in 2019

After Freeman’s primary backup Ito Smith was out due to a neck and concussion injury last season, Hill stepped up.

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.

A Humbling Experience

Hill has had a long NFL journey of ups and downs but it’s actually been in his favor. And now more than ever, he is fairly confident in his own run game potential.

“Once I get to open up, I like my chances,” Hill told AtlantaFalcons.com.

The Falcons drafted Hill and then he was waived and re-signed to the practice squad where he stayed for about a month before the Bengals pick him up.

He spent a year with the Bengals and then the Falcons re-signed him to the practice squad in 2018. He went active a week later and the Falcons allowed him to make a name for himself that season.

By the end of the 2018 season, Hill played in 10 games and rushed for 157 yards on 20 carries.

Before the 2019 season started, Hill had said his experience being cut more than once was “definitely humbling” for him.

Hill has become someone the Falcons can trust, but his inconsistency is what leaves coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff on the edge.

With the Falcons acquiring legendary running back Todd Gurley they have an exciting offense. But Gurley’s knee is still in question as to how well he will perform and how many games the Falcons will be able to use him for. The running back depth chart will need to be solid and Hill can play a major role as the next man up.

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