What Is Future Of Will Hill's Career?
Twitter about lost its mind when the Ravens announced they had released safety Will Hill … until about two hours later when ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Hill has been suspended 10 games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Suddenly everything made sense.
This marks Hill's fourth suspension since the 2012 season, the most of any NFL player since the 2012 offseason, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It will add up to missing 24 out of a possible 74 games, or roughly one-third of Hill's NFL career.
General Manager Ozzie Newsome has often given players second, third, or, in this case, fourth chances. He did just that in 2014 when Hill was released by the New York Giants following his third suspension, two of which were reportedly marijuana-related.
"Ozzie had a lot of faith in me, and I had a lot of faith in him. That's my best friend right now," Hill said at the time, via The Baltimore Sun. "To have me come here and help me with my life, it means a lot."
Newsome also gave Hill a reported two-year, $7 million extension last offseason, demonstrating even more faith in Hill. The 27-year-old safety wanted to reward the Ravens for their faith. He replayed in his head advice from his father, who said if his son received an extension that "all that off-the-field stuff has got to go."
Eight months later, Hill was suspended again.
"That's why Hill's latest discipline from the league could be a career-ending one," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "[I]t could prove difficult for Hill to get another team to trust him, given his embarrassing track record."
The move reportedly creates about $3 million in cap space.
The Ravens are expected to move forward with newly-signed Pro Bowler Eric Weddle and recently converted cornerback Lardarius Webb as their starting safeties. Hill had already lost the starting role for the final two games of last season after Webb converted.
While Hill graded as the 17th best safety in the NFL last season by Pro Football Focus, Gordon McGuinness noted that Hill also graded at No. 70 over the last eight games.
"He is a gifted safety," wrote Hensley. "He is a hard hitter who can change games. Hill's two touchdowns with the Ravens – an interception return in New Orleans and off a blocked field goal in Cleveland – both won games.
"But the New York Giants, who signed him as an undrafted rookie, and the Ravens each released him following a suspension. Teams have shown that they'll take a chance on a player if the talent outweighs the trouble. Hill might have a hard team convincing teams of that going forward."
Courtney Upshaw Visits New York Jets
It looks like Ravens outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw got his first bite in free agency.
The Jets entered the offseason looking to overhaul their linebacker position and they could have three new starters by the season opener. If they sign Upshaw, the team would be getting a durable player who sets the edge and is a powerful run-stuffer.
Every NFL team, including the Jets, wants to improve its pass rush, but Upshaw is not known for getting after the quarterback. He has five sacks during his four-year career, including two sacks last season when he had more opportunities after Terrell Suggs was lost for the season to an Achilles injury.
Newsome acknowledged last month that it would be difficult to retain Upshaw.
"If we can bring back our full team from last year, we would. But we just don't know," Newsome said when asked about the 2012 second-round draft pick.
Compensatory Pick Update
Nobody cares more about compensatory picks than Ravens fans, so let's get an update after several signings …
For the Ravens to get a potential third-round compensatory pick for losing offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele in free agency to the Raiders, they need Upshaw to sign elsewhere with a qualifying contract.
The Ravens' signings of unrestricted free agents Weddle and tight end Benjamin Watson are expected to offset the Osemele and Matt Schaub signings with other teams.
Meanwhile, unrestricted free agent receiver Chris Givens signed with the Philadelphia Eagles for a one-year deal reportedly worth $760,000. That contract won't be big enough for the Ravens to receive a compensatory pick.
Safety and special-teams standout Brynden Trawick signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders Wednesday. Because the Ravens opted not to place a tender on Trawick, he does not become a part of compensatory pick formula, according to Russell Street Report's Brian McFarland.