Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Rams finally get their man in QB Hill
By Nick Wagoner
Two years after they first pursued him, the St. Louis Rams finally landed veteran quarterback Shaun Hill on Wednesday as he agreed to terms on a one-year deal as first reported by ESPN Insider Adam Caplan.
Hill visited with the Rams more than a week ago and departed St. Louis without coming to terms on a contract as he apparently spent time considering a return to Detroit. He went through a similar decision-making process in 2012 when the Rams attempted to sign him away from the Lions before he ultimately re-signed in the Motor City.
This time, the allure of St. Louis was apparently too much for Hill to ignore. Hill keeps a home at the Lake of the Ozarks and is also close with Rams quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti after they worked together in San Francisco.
In landing Hill, the Rams get the veteran backup for starter Sam Bradford they wanted. Hill replaces Kellen Clemens, who signed with San Diego early in free agency.
The 34-year old Hill originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent with Minnesota in 2002 but didn't get the chance to throw a pass in a regular season game until 2007 with the 49ers.
For his career, Hill has played in 34 games with 26 starts, throwing for 6,381 yards, 41 touchdowns and 23 interceptions while completing almost 62 percent of his passes for a passer rating of 85.9. Coincidentally, some of Hill's best games have come against the Rams. He's started four games against St. Louis, all victories, and posted a passer rating better than 100 in three of those contests.
While Hill doesn't come to St. Louis with the same knowledge of coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's offense that Clemens had, he does represent a clear upgrade in talent and demonstrated production throughout the course of his career. Considering his ties to Cignetti, Hill should be able to get up to speed quickly and offer a solid alternative behind Bradford after he completes his rehabilitation from offseason foot surgery.
And though Hill is likely to handle the No. 2 duties in 2014, this probably won't preclude the Rams from using one of their 12 picks in May's draft on a quarterback. The Rams have maintained throughout the offseason that they'd like to add a young quarterback capable of growing into a top backup role behind Bradford. Having Hill for a season would allow whoever that rookie is to come in and learn for a season before having to jump into action should something happen to Bradford.
Likewise, Hill provides early-season insurance in case something goes wrong with Bradford's recovery from ACL surgery.
Much like the team's Tuesday addition of defensive lineman Alex Carrington, Hill is a solid, logical addition who isn't going to break the bank. The Rams have remained patient in free agency and though the approach has kept them from filling some of their major holes, it's starting to pay off in the form of solid depth at positions of need.