CB Troy Hill, also a free agent, could expect to garner a reasonable raise from his $542,647 base salary thanks to the great work he put in the final stretch of the season and the first round of the playoffs. For the sake of the Rams’ defense, let’s hope he can find his way back to Los Angeles to the team that doesn’t play in the soccer/CrossFit stadium.
A year ago, recommending Hill as a replacement for Johnson would have gotten you laughed out of a conversation. Hell, Eric Dickerson would have laughed at you. But after the latter part of the 2017 season, Hill is now a target on the team’s free agency shopping list.
Hill made starts against Tennessee, Seattle, San Francisco and Atlanta with Tennessee being the worst of his starts. That’s saying something. Against QB Marcus Mariota and the Titans, Hill had very solid coverage throughout the fist half. He was quick to change his direction, he kept with receivers through their routes, and had good communication with his safety when passing off the zone assignment:
Hill did allow multiple catches in that game with most just being out of his control. On one route in particular, Mariota threw the ball just high enough for Titans WR Corey Davis to make the catch across the middle completely out of Hill’s reach on the run.
But against the rest of the bunch, Hill was a great contributor in pass defense. Against the Falcons, Hill did not allow a reception on any of the passes thrown his way. Against Seattle, he allowed just a single four-yard catch on the day.
Compare that to one of Hill’s starts last year, and you see the difference is night and day. When the Rams played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Hill allowed 10 catches on 11 passes and 119 yards combined.
No one is suggesting that Hill is more talented than Johnson, but Hill worked his ass off in the final month of the season and proved that he is valuable and not the same player the Rams have had problems with in the past. He’s been waived, cut, added, and then suspended all in the span of less than six months.
I hope Hill comes back to Los Angeles, as it would be a win-win for both sides. The Rams would retain a rising talent, and Hill could improve under a talented coaching.