BALTIMORE — As the Baltimore Ravens enter the off-season, the team has a few decisions to make regarding free agents. One of which will be the type of contract that should be offered to restricted free agent safety Will Hill.
Hill is a player signed during training camp. He came in, learned the defense and was a productive player in the secondary after serving a six game suspension. Most players who have achieved the level of success that Hill has with the Ravens would easily be able to secure a long-term deal.
Hill is only 24 years old, which is still young by NFL standards. However, it’s not his age that may make teams less likely to commit to him long term. Hill has served three NFL mandated suspensions but seems to have gotten on track after spending a season with the Ravens. Different things can motivate a player to get their life in order. Hill recently had a baby. Becoming a parent will make most people grow up and make better choices. He mentioned how his mindset is different now.
“I sit in the house with my family. I used to be a nightclub guy, especially coming out of college,” Hill said. “I got caught up in a lifestyle before, but I’m accountable now and do things differently. I’ve just been watching a lot of movies. I’m a homebody. I took a long look in the mirror and decided to change a lot of things.”
The Ravens have a veteran locker room that can support a guy like Will Hill. While with the New York Giants, Hill was able to lean on veteran safety Antrel Rolle. Hill himself has become a mentor for the Ravens younger safeties, especially Matt Elam and Terrence Brooks. Elam had a tough stretch in which he saw decreased playing time. It was Hill who helped him to get through the disappointment. He motivated Elam to keep working hard and plugging away because another shot was coming. That’s what leaders do. They rally the troops whether it is on a one by one basis or the whole group.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has said that they intend to bring Hill back but they are challenging him.
“We’re challenging him for the next three or four months,” Harbaugh said. “Are you going to come back a better player than you were when you left here in January, and is that slate going to be clean? We fully expect it to be.”
Harbaugh recognizes that Will Hill has a lot of talent and that he learned a pretty tough defense in a short amount of time. He is looking forward to seeing how Hill will progress in his second year with the Ravens.
This off-season is one of the most important ones in Will Hill’s young career. It is clear that he has the talent to be one of the better safeties in the NFL. He showed that especially during the game against the New Orleans Saints. Hill did an excellent job of limiting all world tight end Jimmy Graham. He even had a game sealing 44-yard interception return during that game.
The Ravens will surely tender him a restricted free agent deal. That contract could end up being a long term one if Hill can show that he has truly left the troubles behind. An uneventful off-season would be exactly what Hill needs. Once again, a team will be relying on him to compliment his talent with good behavior. Hill fell short of doing so for the Giants over the past few years. The Ravens hope that taking a chance with him pays off and he will blossom into the kind of player that his talent dictates.