NFL Media’s James Palmer reported Monday that Hillman and the Broncos have agreed on a one-year contract, according to a source aware of the deal. The Broncos later confirmed the deal. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport added the deal is worth $2 million and includes roughly $600,000 in guarantees, according to a source with knowledge of the contract. Hillman re-joins C.J. Anderson as Denver’s 1-2 punch at running back.
Hillman led the Broncos in both carries (207) and rushing yards (863) last season, but was outplayed by Anderson down the stretch, leading to a shift in roles. Hillman’s season was capped by a 1.7 yards per carry average in three playoff games.
That helps to explain why Hillman was greeted by such a cold market in free agency. It’s somewhat surprising the Broncos opted to bring Hillman back now with a potential replacement to be had in next week’s draft.
Perhaps Denver will bring in more competition, but for now Hillman has the inside track as Anderson’s backup.
Hillman thanked the Broncos for bringing him back on Twitter.
In another NFL news, Associated Press reported that a federal appeals court has upheld a potential $1 billion plan by the NFL to settle thousands of concussion lawsuits filed by former players.
The decision released Monday by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes almost a year after a revised deal was approved.
Critics appealing the settlement had argued that any deal include future payments for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain decay found in dozens of former players after their deaths.
The appellate judges acknowledge those points in the 69-page ruling but found the settlement was for the greater good of all players.
The settlement would resolve thousands of lawsuits and cover more than 20,000 NFL retirees for the next 65 years. The league estimates that 6,000 former players, or nearly three in 10, could develop Alzheimer’s disease or moderate dementia.
The settlement grants up to $4 million for prior deaths involving CTE, but it set an April 2015 cutoff date to avoid incentivizing suicides.