The Cincinnati Bengals have one of the most talented offensive backfields in the NFL. The combination of three second round picks in Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill, and Joe Mixon makes for an incredible group. Unfortunately, it also makes for a very crowded group. Rookie Joe Mixon is on pace to earn a key role on the offense, leaving less and less room for Hill, the current starter. Plus, Giovani Bernard is sure to receive plenty of playing time, too.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis loves to slow-cook his rookies, but who are we kidding? By all accounts, Joe Mixon has the goods to start immediately as a workhorse in Cincy's backfield. In the final year of his contract, Hill won't cost much for suitors in search of running-game help. Coming off a playoff season, the Giants could address one of last year's enduring issues -- their stuck-in-the-mud ground game -- by shipping a low-level draft pick to the Bengals in exchange for Hill. He would have the chance to contribute right away ahead of Paul Perkins, who has failed to shine this summer for the G-Men. With the Cowboys holding their breath on the fate of Ezekiel Elliott's six-game ban, the time to strike in the NFC East is now.
Hill established himself as a talented running back after an impressive rookie season, starting only eight games but still gaining 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns on 222 carries. However, in both of his two seasons since, he has failed to record more than 850 yards on the ground despite receiving virtually the same number of carries each season.
For that reason, coupled with the team’s depth at the position (even Tra Carson looked great in the preseason) it makes sense for the Bengals to potentially cut their losses and try to trade the embattled running back in the final year of his rookie deal. As it seems like a long-shot for Hill to be re-signed next offseason anyway, even a late draft pick would be better than nothing. Sure, the Bengals have to love rostering such a talented backfield. But, with Mixon looking more and more like a potential star and Bernard consistent enough to rely on, it seems to make sense the Bengals won’t have much of a long-term place for Hill anyway. They might as well go ahead and confirm what we already assume, right?
Granted, it should go without saying this is all purely speculation and a suggestion from Sessler that’s HIGHLY unlikely to happen. Every move the Bengals have made so far and suggestion they have alluded to seems to follow along with letting Hill play out the rest of his contract. Not to mention, he’s currently the starter. For now, the Bengals seem perfectly content with fielding one of the NFL’s most talented backfields and giving Hill one last shot at proving his value to the team. At no point have the Bengals announced any plans to even consider a trade for Hill, and have not made any moves to suggest they are considering the possibility or floating him on the trade block.
Then again, a trade might make sense for all parties involved. In addition to the obvious benefits the Bengals would receive, that have already been discussed, it could be a great career move for Hill. Unless he plays absolutely out of his mind in 2017, it would seem his time in the Queen City is coming to a close. The Bengals already have the ultra talented Mixon developing in the wings with Bernard available in the same role he has played since Hill won the starting job in 2014. A fresh start in a new city, with a team willing to give up a draft pick for him, might be exactly what Hill needs to revitalize his career.
Finally, a team like the Giants would be receiving a talented player who could come in and compete for any available rushing role. And hey, Hill is already great friends with Giants star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Ultimately, the decision to even make him available for trade lies with the Bengals, who haven’t given us any reason to think they’re interested in doing such a thing.
Do you think the Bengals should consider trading Jeremy Hill?
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It’s not happening.