On Tuesday, free safety Will Hill passed through waivers unclaimed after being dumped by the New York Giants the day before. While his off-field issues definitely led to his hitting the open market, the Oakland Raiders might be willing to give him another opportunity when the time is right.
Hill is currently facing a six-game suspension to start off the 2014 NFL season. However, when his suspension is finally up, there will be a few teams willing to take a risk on him considering his overwhelming on-field ability. Considering their need for some long-term talent at free safety, the Raiders have to be candidates to sign the troubled cover man.
Since entering the league in 2012, Hill has been suspended three times, most recently for yet another violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. His off-field problems forced the Giants to sever ties, but for a team like the Raiders that is desperate to add young talent, the risk might just be worth taking.
Last season, Hill graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 safety, excelling in coverage while also making his mark against the run. He finished the year with 60 total tackles and two interceptions, while only giving up 19 catches for 186 yards and one touchdown. He quickly emerged as a star safety for the Giants, but watched his stock plummet after his latest suspension.
The Raiders are set for now at free safety with Charles Woodson, but the 37-year-old veteran isn’t going to last forever. He considered retiring this offseason before opting to re-sign with Oakland, and stands a good chance of hanging it up after the 2014 campaign. The Raiders’ have a capable backup in Usama Young, but Hill would obviously be an upgrade from a talent standpoint.
While it may seem like a questionable idea, the Raiders can’t afford to be complacent. Signing a talent like Hill would certainly give them a brighter future on defense – that is, if he can get clean and stay out of trouble.
It’s certainly a risk, but it’s one worth taking for the Raiders.