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Heckert: Browns want Hillis, but it will come down to the money

Peyton Hillis AP

The Cleveland Browns are ready to let running back Peyton Hillis test free agency and won’t use the franchise tag to keep him, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want him back.

Browns General Manager Tom Heckert told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that despite widespread reports during the 2011 season that Hillis was unhappy in Cleveland and the team was equally unhappy with him, the Browns would gladly bring Hillis back.

But Heckert, who is continuing to work as he recovers from bypass surgery, hastened to add that they’ll only bring him back at the right price.

If we can work something out with Peyton we will,” Heckert said. “Did he have some rough patches during the season? Yes. Were there stretches where things were blown out of proportion? Yes. Honestly, I feel like a lot of that was blown up in the media. Now, of course things will still come down to the money, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”

The big question about Hillis is what kind of contract will satisfy him, and what kind of contract a team will be willing to offer him. Hillis repeatedly changing agents suggests that he’s eager to get a big deal and impatient with his inability to get one, but the reality in the NFL right now is that teams are very cautious about giving big money to running backs. Especially running backs coming off seasons in which they gained just 587 yards on a career-low 3.6 yards a carry.

Ultimately, it will come down to the money no matter where Hillis goes. And it may be significantly less money than Hillis wants.

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20 Responses to “Heckert: Browns want Hillis, but it will come down to the money”
  1. bigswifty74 says: Mar 1, 2012 8:33 AM

    Let him walk. If they give him a contract that he’ll decide he’s not happy with next year, or the year after, it’ll be 2011 all over again.

  2. mgscott says: Mar 1, 2012 8:39 AM

    Translation: We don’t want you

  3. mrslay1 says: Mar 1, 2012 8:45 AM

    Hillis is a great player and deserves to be paid. There was no reason last year for the Browns not to pay him. Just another example of how the Browns just want to sell tickets and keep the money. Why should Hillis play for less than he’s worth, because the Browns are cheap? There will plenty out there willing to pay him.

  4. lbcoach34 says: Mar 1, 2012 8:53 AM

    best deal he will get will be in CLE – he better sign soon, as his stock is on a landslide

  5. sambeall says: Mar 1, 2012 8:56 AM

    Let Hillis walk and get Michael Bush for the same money but better production. He was built for the AFC North. As of now we do not have a single NFL RB on our roster and the WR core isn’t looking much better.

  6. ramsfan2daend says: Mar 1, 2012 8:58 AM

    I agree let him walk and sign with another team and draft Trent Richardson. Honestly I think he will be a way better choice.

  7. raiderlyfe510 says: Mar 1, 2012 9:17 AM

    If I were Hillis I would want to stay with that O Line which is anchored by the one of the best LT and Centers in the business.

  8. vegaskid21 says: Mar 1, 2012 9:26 AM

    Hillis had 1 good year. Not great, good. Someone needs to tell Peyton he isn’t AP, Ray Rice or Lesean McCoy. Prove that 1100 yard year wasn’t a fluke and do it again. Then Hillis might get paid as long as he keeps his trap shut.

  9. richardhurtz says: Mar 1, 2012 9:33 AM

    Hillis should have taken the offer the Browns made last year. Now he has burned most of his bridges and painted himself into a corner with the Browns. He’ll look like a chump if he takes a lowball offer from them after spending all last season claiming to be worth top 5 RB money. Hillis will now have to sign a one year “show me” deal with another team and pray he stays healthy. Either way, he’s nothing more than a solid time share RB….

  10. stevincinci says: Mar 1, 2012 9:33 AM

    Stay away from Cincinnati. Don’t need another cancer.

  11. jdnoll1106 says: Mar 1, 2012 9:38 AM

    If he doesn’t accept the 3yr 10 m contract rumored to be on the table, let the whiny turd go. The only plus on signing him is avoiding drafting a rb in the first 2 rounds

  12. digitaldonnie says: Mar 1, 2012 9:40 AM

    mrslay…really? Are u Hillis’ mother? Pay him for what? Causing a rift in the locker room? Banging out 500 yards? Oh I know, missing his thereby to go get hitched. As a Browns fan I don’t want to see cap money burned on him. That money would be better spent else where. Like new towels or a new water bottle. Let him walk, they can find another back just as good with the 22nd pick. Kid from Boise State for instance.

  13. jeb7524 says: Mar 1, 2012 9:44 AM

    Running backs are easily replaced, this guy is not that great to begin with, and he’s been a headache whether blown out of proportion or not. Let him walk.

  14. joemammy says: Mar 1, 2012 9:55 AM

    Ever since I watched that video of D’Qwell Jackson knocking Hillis back 10 yards and putting him on his ass, it was evident this guy has no heart. Let him walk.

  15. wryly1 says: Mar 1, 2012 10:08 AM

    I’m with sambeall. Hillis hasn’t been 100% since 2010 and his attitude hasn’t been right either. Michael Bush is a natural fit for the AFC North, the most versatile power back that’s really on the open market – and fills a specific hole/need for Browns.

  16. citiciti says: Mar 1, 2012 10:20 AM

    Peyton?C’mon man!

  17. oldcracker says: Mar 1, 2012 10:44 AM

    Sign him to a “show me” contract with yearly options (and increases). That is one less hole to fill, this year.

  18. noquickreactionshere says: Mar 1, 2012 11:02 AM

    vegaskid21 says:
    Mar 1, 2012 9:26 AM
    Hillis had 1 good year. Not great, good. Someone needs to tell Peyton he isn’t AP, Ray Rice or Lesean McCoy. Prove that 1100 yard year wasn’t a fluke and do it again. Then Hillis might get paid as long as he keeps his trap shut.

    __________________________________

    I wouldn’t even say one good year… more like 6 good games. Outside of 5 games over 100 yards and one game at 82 his other 10 games that year were:
    41, 35, 28, 41, 69, 48, 37, 59, 35, 13

    That 50,25, and 13 were the final 3 games of the year against division rivals. 25 yards and 2.92 yards per carry against Baltimore followed by 13 yards and 2.17 per carry against Pittsburgh is not good enough to get it done in the AFC north.

    He is big and strong, he took team by surprise early in 2010 by just running through them. They figured him out… adjusted… and now he is useless. Although I don’t personally play Madden I was embarassed for EA sports when they put him on the cover.

    Cleveland needs to save their money and invest in some wepons to put around RGIII (After they trade with St Louis).

  19. granadafan says: Mar 1, 2012 4:24 PM

    Now you know why Packers fans did NOT want Aaron Rodgers on the cover of Madden and voted for Hillis.

  20. bigswifty74 says: Mar 2, 2012 12:18 AM

    I honestly believe that Hillis is more exciting than he is good. It’s exciting to see what he MIGHT be able to pull off, but those are few and far between. Fumble.

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