New York Jets:Potential Free Agent: Peyton Hillis


New York has just said goodbye to Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Jason Smith, and Eric Smith. Although it’s still early in the off season, choices have to be made about re-signing Brandon Moore, Matt Slauson, Shonn Greene, and Dustin Keller. The 5 recent cuts, have put the Jets roughly close to $10 million under the 2013 salary cap. Still, that leaves only a small amount to fill out the roster for multiple starting roles

I, and pretty much everyone else watching the Jets are waiting for the next stage of this off season, which will be the expected restructuring of deals. I would expect the Jets to restructure or at least attempt to restructure the large deals of Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez, and David Harris. The one I am most confident about being restructured would be David Harris, since he most fits into the long term plans of the team, and he is most likely to still see most of his money. That’s just my two cents though. What I really see coming down the news pipe pretty soon is that Shonn Greene is not re-signed. Maybe he’ll stick around for an incentive laden one year deal, but I can just as easily see him going to a team with more money to throw at him. The most logical scenario would be to see the Jets wait around as long as possible, because after the free agent wave passes by, the players that are still left as free agents have lost all their leverage. If the Jets can hold out, they might be able to get a number cheap free agents that no other teams have signed for vet minimum salaries.

If you remember the 2010 Browns team, the photo would show one player. Peyton Hillis. He ran the ball 270 times, for nearly 1200 yards, while also catching 61 passes out of the backfield for another 500 yards receiving. He generated all the offense for that team, which was followed by his face being plastered on the cover of the John Madden video game. Then the wheels fell off. Following that he had an injury plagued, bad blooded season in Cleveland and no new contract, and last year in 2012 he only carried the ball 85 times all season, but did manage a pair of 100 yard rushing games with the Kansas City Chiefs as Jamal Charles back up.

Although I’ll admit, I have no idea what his current value is in the NFL. I do know he signed for 1.4 million last season, and I think his star power may have diminished even further after rushing for only 85 carries and 300 yards. He might be a great addition as a rotation back to split carries with Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight if Greene does not re-sign. He would give the Jets a power back with a 1 cut, hard running style a la Greene. He can also catch passes pretty well as evidenced by his 60 catch 500 yard receiving season in Cleveland. Being that he is about 6’1 and 250 pounds, he could also be signed to the roster as a fullback, be used as a power back in a jumbo package, and give the Jets 4 legitimate running backs on the roster without using an additional roster spot on a traditional fullback if they so choose. He also has fullback experience in Denver, as well as in college in Arkansas.

Imagine a Hillis/Powell backfield where Hillis could start as the FB, and either block for the RB, or run out in play action for a catch and run. The Jets could even split the running back if its Powell or McKnight out wide into the slot and use Hillis to pass block, or run him as a single back from the same play formation. Those are just a few ideas that jumped into my mind when I thought of this guy. I recently read that he is not a hightly sought after free agent anymore, so the Jets may be able to sign him as a replacement for Shonn Greene, and still keep their salary cap pretty low, while increasing the roster flexibility with the things he can do. It’s a win-win in my book. What do you all think? A cheaper, low cost, high reward player, that could eat up chunks of yards in 2013.