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NFC East: The Case For Taking A Chance On Will Hill
If Will Hill could find a less-illegal hobby than smoking marijuana, he’d probably be one of the league’s best young safeties.
The numbers speak for themselves: in two seasons with the Giants, Hill put together 115 tackles in just 24 games. He didn’t assume the starting role alongside Antrel Rolle until well into the season last year, but he put up 77 tackles and two picks in place of Stevie Brown.
Of course, the other side of that argument is that Hill only played in 24 games of a possible 32. He’s missed 25 percent of his possible games because of substance-abuse suspensions. He faced a third one in as many years this season, forcing him out for the first six games of 2014.
The Giants made the move many thought they would and cut Hill for these transgressions earlier this week. All the talent in the world doesn’t amount to much if you can’t be counted on, obviously.
All of that said, let’s take a look at it through the Cowboys’ perspective. Were he to sign in Dallas, Hill would automatically become the best or second-best safety on the roster. He’s got a proven playmaking ability that only Barry Church can boast.
With a litany of transgressions on his record, you can bet Hill will also come cheap. It’s not like he was expensive in the first place, as he went undrafted out of Florida – likely due to these very problems. But even with their limited cap space, the Cowboys should be able to afford Hill on an experimental deal.
He’s not going to be available for the first six weeks of the season, but that’s hardly problematic for the Cowboys. This team’s current hope is that J.J. Wilcox makes the leap in his second season and becomes a quality free safety. If not, the gameplan would probably be for Jeff Heath or, if he can stay on the field, Matt Johnson to step up and lend some improved play.
Adding Hill doesn’t change that gameplan at all – at least, not for the first six weeks. If Wilcox is balling out when Hill’s suspension is up, then you’ve got some enviable depth at the position. If he’s not, then you plug in Hill and see what he can do.
In the truest sense of poetic justice, the Cowboys’ Week 7 game – the first game Hill would be eligible to play – would be a home date against the Giants.
Write it off if you want. Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara certainly doesn’t want to see his former teammate inside his division.
“It’s going to be a tough loss. Hopefully if he goes to a team, it’s not someone in the NFC East,” Amukamara told Tom Rock of Newsday. “He’s a guy you don’t want to face.”
It’s definitely no guarantee Hill even gets picked up. Josh Gordon’s recent troubles might make teams think twice about second, third, or in Hill’s case, fourth-chance players.
There’s no denying Hill’s talent, though. I also think adding him to the roster would be relatively low-risk, all things considered. If he cleans his act up, it’s a steal for this team; if he doesn’t, the Cowboys aren’t in any worse shape than they were.
It doesn’t seem likely to happen, but I can’t think of many good reasons why it shouldn’t.