Packers: Why Green Bay Could Realistically Sign Ronnie Hillman
Now that Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson has signed a free agent, it’s worth asking if he’s interested in signing another.
One player that Thompson and the Packers have reportedly had discussions about signing is former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman, according to multiple reports coming out just a few days ago.
The fact that the Packers are interested in Hillman is a bit surprising, especially considering the team just re-signed James Starks to a two-year deal. However, that leaves the Packers with just two backs they can count on and in today’s NFL, that’s a little scary.
Simply put, the Packers lack depth in the backfield. And if the team ends up not bringing back John Kuhn, that’s another player that carries the ball that would no longer be with the team. Yet, even if Kuhn does return, which I think he will, Green Bay still needs another ball carrier and Hillman is a reasonable candidate.
Last season, Hillman rushed for 863 yards and scored seven touchdowns for the Super Bowl champions, while also catching 24 passes for 111 yards. He also averaged 4.2 yards per carry and during his four seasons, he has an average yard per rush of 4.1 on a total of 453 attempts.
The other positive thing about Hillman is that he is just 25 years old and he has very little tread on his tires. He’s also a guy that has played on special teams before and could do so again in Green Bay. He would also give the Packers some insurance if Eddie Lacy isn’t in as good of shape as he appears to be in his most recent photos.
Hillman isn’t a game-changing player by any means, but he is a productive runner and at this point in free agency, his bargaining power is going to be very limited. I would still be a little surprised to see the Packers actually sign him, at least anytime soon.
In my opinion, Thompson is going to look to the draft to try to find his third running back. And hopefully, Green Bay can find a scat back, who can create mismatches in the passing game. That’s something their offense has really been missing (in my perspective).
Hillman is not really that kind of back, but he was known as a good pass-catcher coming out of San Diego State and it’s been surprising to me that he is struggled in that area thus far in his career.
At the end of the day, Hillman’s best chance of landing in Green Bay is after the draft. If the Packers don’t find what they are looking for in the draft or rookie free agency, Hillman could be the second free agent signed by Thompson this offseason.