Blog Entry

Should the Browns give Hillis a long-term deal?

Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:59 am

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Last week, the Browns signed left tackle Joe Thomas to a seven-year, $84 million extension. And in Colt McCoy, they appear to have finally settled on their quarterback of the future. It's all part of the rebuilding process overseen by team president Mike Holmgren and implemented by new coach Pat Shurmur. Cleveland also took Greg Little in the second round of the April draft to bolster the wide receiver position. And in one season, Peyton Hillis, the guy the Browns got in the trade for Brady Quinn, went from an afterthought in Denver to one of the Browns' best players.

Hillis was so good, in fact, that he ended up on the cover of Madden 12. After spending the first two years with the Broncos where he managed 397 yards on 81 carries, Hillis ran for 1,117 yards on 270 carries (4.4 YPC, 11 TDs) and added 477 receiving yards (and 2 TDs) in 2011.

In addition to the Madden love, the Browns are now talking about extending his contract.

Given Hillis' importance to the Browns' offense, and that McCoy could use all the weapons he can get, the extension makes a lot of sense. Yes, page/TEN">Titans shouldn't pay Johnson">we're not big fans of overpaying for running backs because you can't swing a dead cat without hitting one capable of rushing for 1,000 yards, but we can't imagine that Hillis will be asking for Chris Johnson money. (Granted, it's still not clear what constitutes "Chris Johnson money," but it's more than what the NFL's highest-paid back currently makes.)

Still, the Browns blog, Dawgpound Daily, asks an important question: Would signing Hillis to a long-term deal be a good idea?
With just one solid season under his belt … there is no guarantee that he will come close to those numbers again or, worse, stay healthy. Hillis’ running style is not kind to his body, and it was evident in 2010, as he battled injuries for much of the second half of the season.

Most likely, the Browns will give Hillis a fair amount of guaranteed money and let him earn the rest of the contract. Luckily, the team is flush with cash to spend (they have more than $18 million in salary cap room) and can afford to take a chance on Hillis.
If the idea is to surround McCoy with playmakers then keeping Hillis is a no-brainer. But questions about his durability are certainly relevant; it's not like Hillis tiptoes out of bounds whenever he gets the chance and shies away from contact. He's a fullback by nature and seems to enjoy steamrolling defenders. That takes a toll.

The real reason we wanted to write about Hillis is to show this video. Because, really, there's nothing quite so awesome as Peyton Hillis vs. Chuck Norris.

For now, though, he's just happy to be playing football. "When you are playing a game, that’s when you know you are truly blessed," Hillis told recently. "I’m looking forward to another big season with the Browns to show fans how much we appreciate them."

And speaking of the fans, he has nothing but good things to say about those who voted him onto the Madden 12 cover. "This has been a humbling experience and I want to thank all the fans in Cleveland and throughout the country that got behind me and voted each and every week."

Enjoy it, Peyton. Because it's only a matter of time before fans start making fantasy demands and you just snap.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 10:10 pm

Should the Browns give Hillis a long-term deal?

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 10:40 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 29, 2011 6:38 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Feb 25, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2011 9:43 pm

Should the Browns give Hillis a long-term deal?

OVERRATED>......Any running back last year who was force feed the ball on every run and passing plan woulda had a year like him. Hell be an after thought by week  6 when he has no tds

Since: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 9:35 pm

Should the Browns give Hillis a long-term deal?

RB's are a dime a dozen. Wait til week five when he goes down for the season. Should I mention Priest Holmes? Larry Johnson? Shawn Alexander? Terrell Davis? How many seasons did you say? Go ahead Cleveland, open the vault.

Since: Jun 1, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 9:30 pm

Should the Browns give Hillis a long-term deal?

My point exactly. His season was unbelievable last year because he was the only weapon on a very bad team. They are improving and as they improve, his production should increase and his hits should decrease. Sign him now before he posts another monster season.

Having said that, their is truth that running backs are a dime a dozen. Name a team that has spent bank to sign a guy from another team. It doesn't happen because the difference between a 1000 yard back and a 1500 yard back is related more to the offense and line than it is to the guy handling the football. Just look at Shanahan's Broncos as an example...

The browns should pay, but they shouldn't break the bank or make Hillis the next highest paid guy in football. They should just lockup a part of their future success....

Since: Sep 19, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 7:38 pm

Should the Browns give Hillis a long-term deal?

The only people making sense on this thread are the ones who state had there been a legitimate pass threat, the numbers for Hillis and the constant threat for injury would have been different. He had a heck of a season when the opposing teams knew he was the only real threat and were ready to hit him hard and yet he still put up outstanding numbers. Now with McCoy , assuming he produces,  and some other weapons Hillis will not be the expected play and his numbers should increase and his potential for injury should decrease.

The wisest thing the Browns can do is sign him now so he feels wanted and does not look to move to another home. They also need to make sure the backup back is able to effectively take some of the downs so it is not all on Hillis. But we will see won't we.

Since: Jun 25, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2011 6:02 pm

Should the Browns give Hillis a long-term deal?

He had a great season, the numbers don't lie. But with his running style and the fact that he is already hurt, he will not make it through a  season. If he does then give him a contract one year is not enough.

Since: Jul 22, 2011
Posted on: September 1, 2011 6:01 pm

Should the Browns give Hillis a long-term deal?

He ALSO did that with NO PASSING threat at all!!! Loaed box against him, the only weapon, and he still had the year e had! He is worth it. HUMBLE- HARD-WORKING, and ready to break linebackers! Get it done!

Since: Jun 25, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2011 5:59 pm

Should the Browns give Hillis a long-term deal?

After this season, everyone will be saying overrated, sound familiar. He is already hurt,he'll be out for the season by week 7. Hate to say it, but hardesty will be a stud this year watch!!!!!!!!!!!

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