The Facts: Following up on the previous item. ... The Patriots have agreed to terms with Hill, who becomes the biggest running back on the Patriots roster, at 6-1 and 230 pounds, and ESPN's Mike Reiss believes the newcomer could challenge Mike Gillislee for the top power role.
Diehards Line: Hill was highly regarded coming out of the '14 draft and has faded a bit off the radar, so this is a case of the Patriots identifying a potential undervalued asset in the marketplace who could benefit from a change of scenery. They’ve had some success with that approach in the past, and while contract terms are not known, it’s hard to imagine this will put much stress on their salary cap. The Patriots also re-signed Rex Burkhead to a three-year deal in free agency, and he’s a dual threat, while James White is the capable and clutch third-down back. HC Bill Belichick talked last year about the value of having multidimensional backs who can put stress on a defense with both their rushing ability and pass-catching skills, and Hill has totaled 67 career receptions, so he’s not a run-only option. His addition to the roster brings another level of competition, which is never a bad thing. Concerns? Hill has had some ball-security struggles in his career; his time with the Bengals took a turn of sorts after his costly playoff fumble against the Steelers two seasons ago. He is also coming off a season in which he played in only seven games because of an ankle injury.