With free agency opening in just over a month on March 14th, NFL teams have already begun evaluating the potential talent pool that is set to hit the open market. Despite the fact that negotiating can’t begin until the legal tampering period starts on March 12th, front office’s must have an idea of which potential free agents they will target in order to get ahead of the competition at the negotiating table. With that in mind, we here at The Phinsider will be reviewing possible free agent fits for the Dolphins this offseason. Today, we start with Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill.
The list of potential free agents is subject to change as teams re-sign or cut players over the next few months.
Hill was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Bengals back in 2014. He had a sensational rookie season in which he played in all sixteen games and started eight. During that season, Hill accumulated 1,124 rushing yards on an outstanding 5.1 ypc average on top of nine rushing touchdowns.
However, following his breakout campaign, Hill’s career began to take a downward trajectory. Over the course of the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Hill averaged a mediocre 3.7 ypc and failed to break 850 yards in either season despite playing all but one game in both and starting at least thirteen in each. In 2017, Hill’s tenure in Cincinnati reached rock bottom, as the once-heralded runner started just seven games before having his lead-back role usurped by rookie Joe Mixon. Throughout the entirety of the year, the younger ball-carrier far outperformed the 25-year old Hill. Hill never got a chance to win that position back after landing on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
Now heading into free agency, the former Bengal is looking for a fresh start as it’s almost guaranteed that Cincinnati won’t be bringing him back next season. While his play has clearly fallen off over the past few seasons, there’s certainly still great value in the powerful back. Through the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Hill managed to accumulate 21 total touchdowns, meaning he could be used by Miami in short yardage situations to great effect. The most obvious benefit is that Hill is going to come far cheaper than his talent deserves given the recent downward trajectory of his production.
It’s also quite clear that the Dolphins have a need at the running back position. With Damien Williams hitting free agency, Miami could lose its best complement to incumbent starter Kenyan Drake. Even if the Dolphins do retain Williams, the roster would still lack a true power back, and Hill has proven he can play that role before while splitting time with Cincinnati’s swiss army knife, Giovani Bernard. If he was brought into Miami, the hard-hitting Hill could be a perfect complement to the shifty and speedy Drake.
Should the Dolphins pursue Jeremy Hill in free agency?
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