Browns and former Rams cornerback Troy Hill agree to terms
The Cleveland Rams are back.
Well, sort of.
The Browns and free-agent cornerback Troy Hill agreed to terms Thursday, a person familiar with the situation confirmed.
Hill is the second former Los Angeles Rams defensive back the Browns have secured this week. The other is safety John Johnson III, who struck a three-year, $33.75 million deal Monday.
NFL Network reported Hill, 29, received a four-year contract worth $24 million. However, those terms were not confirmed.
Hill is a Youngstown native who moved to California when he was 15 years old and attended St. Bonaventure High School and the University of Oregon. He entered the NFL in 2015 as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals, then spent the past five seasons with the Rams after they claimed him off waivers from the New England Patriots.
The Browns covet versatile defensive backs, and Hill has experience playing outside cornerback and covering slot receivers as a nickelback. Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods needed help at both spots, especially with recent losses in free agency.
Starting cornerback Terrance Mitchell left the Browns as an unrestricted free agent by agreeing to terms Tuesday with the Houston Texans, a move he confirmed Thursday on Instagram.
No. 1 nickelback Kevin Johnson left Cleveland as an unrestricted free agent by striking a one-year deal Thursday with the Tennessee Titans, agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed.
ProFootballFocus.com ranked Hill 27th among the 121 qualifying cornerbacks the website graded last season. His rankings were 12th of 115 and 66th of 112 in 2019 and 2018, respectively.
This is PFF's breakdown of Hill:
"A player who has earned impressive PFF grades dating back to his college career, Troy Hill displayed versatility in 2020 by moving inside to cover the slot after previously playing primarily on the outside. Hill has high-end play under his belt at the NFL level, but he plays at his best when protected from the most physically imposing receivers in the league — something the Rams have been equipped to do since acquiring Jalen Ramsey. A move to the slot also better facilitates that.
"Hill can be a solid No. 2 or 3 cornerback. Hill's 546 snaps in the slot in 2020 are more than he played in five seasons from 2015-19 combined. Hill has produced coverage grades of 73.0 or better in three of his last four seasons, and his versatility could be appealing to a handful of teams looking for a solid veteran piece in the secondary."
Hill has started 39 of the 73 regular-season games in which he has appeared. He has 218 tackles, including a sack, 29 passes defensed, seven interceptions, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.
Hill started all 18 games last season, including two in the playoffs. He had the best production of his career with 77 tackles, 10 passes defensed, three interceptions, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He had three defensive touchdowns — interceptions returned 35 and 84 yards and a fumble recovery returned 20 yards.
Hill, listed as 5-foot-11 and 183 pounds, will join a cornerback group led by starter Denzel Ward, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2018 after being drafted fourth overall out of Ohio State.
Greedy Williams started as a rookie second-round pick in 2019, but he missed all of last season after suffering nerve damage in a shoulder Aug. 24 during a training camp practice. The Browns are optimistic about the comeback attempt of Williams, but no matter how it unfolds, Hill is positioned to play a huge role for the defense.
Browns make offensive line moves
Offensive lineman Greg Senat agreed to a one-year deal with the Browns, two people familiar with the situation confirmed. Senat was on the Browns' practice squad last season until the Dallas Cowboys swiped him off it in October. He appeared in 10 games with the Cowboys as a backup.
The Browns also waived backup offensive tackle Drake Dorbeck.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com.