With training camp revving up for the Las Vegas Raiders, they’ve only had to put one player on the reserve/COVID-19 list. That player was running back Devontae Booker. While it’s unknown exactly how long he’ll be out, it appears the team is already bringing in a replacement. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Raiders are planning to sign former Bengals and Patriots running back Jeremy Hill.
The #Raiders hosted free agent RB Jeremy Hill today and plan to sign him a contract, source said. A deal is pending his physical and his COVID-19 test. The former #Patriots and #Bengals RB last played in 2018, and would be a low-risk add.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 31, 2020
Hill has fallen on hard times over the last few years and didn’t even play last season. However, he’s been off for a year and if he passes his physical, it looks like he will be a Raider. He’ll be coming into a loaded backfield that has a clear leader in Josh Jacobs but it still remains to be seen who is backup will be.
Hill Had a Very Productive Start to His Career
If this was 2016, signing Hill would’ve been a great find for the Raiders. The former Bengals second-round pick rushed for 1,124 yards in his rookie season. He followed that up by leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns the next season. He was a very solid rusher over his first three seasons.
Unfortunately for him, Cincinnati drafted Joe Mixon, and Hill saw his role diminished. He also started to get bit by the injury bug and the Bengals eventually moved on from him. He made his way to the Patriots but tore his ACL in his first game with the team. He brought home a Super Bowl ring but didn’t get a chance to sign with a team last year. If he’s healthy, he’ll get a shot of making the Raiders this year.
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Who Will Backup Josh Jacobs?
If Hill passes his physical and the Raiders sign him, there will be a lot of competition to be the backup for Jacobs. Jalen Richard, rookie Lynn Bowden and Jacobs are all probably locks to make the roster. Considering the Raiders also keep a fullback on the roster in Alec Ingold, it’s not a given that they decide to roll with four running backs come Opening Day.
The battle to be Jacobs’ backup will be decided among Rod Smith, Booker and Hill. Smith is a huge power back who could be valuable in short-yardage situations. That said, there’s not much that differentiates him from Ingold so maybe that works against him.
Booker is probably more similar to Jacobs but if the Raiders want somebody who is a bit of a change of pace, Hill might be the better option. It remains to be seen just how long Booker will be out. Perhaps Hill was only brought in to be a training camp body until Booker is back on the field. However, Hill could impress the coaches and make a spot for himself. The position battle at running back will be a key one to watch.