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Falcons RB Brian Hill signs tender, will be back in 2020

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The running back signed an original-round tender.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

After the process drew out a bit longer than we anticipated, Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill is now solidified as a member of the 2020 team.

Hill signed his original-round tender offer (a 5th) Saturday, ending the slight wonder if that process might fall apart and send the Wyoming alum to free agency, as it sometimes does in the NFL.

Hill was a factor for the team down the stretch last season, with the Mothership reminding us that he took over for Ito Smith once the latter wound up on IR mid-season. He had 323 yards rushing last year and two touchdowns, and 69 in the air with a score, which is fairly decent production for a backup running back on a decent offense.

For 2020, he’ll be in the churn, trying to carve out a role for himself behind free agent signing and former MVP contender Todd Gurley II. The team’s running back group is a crowded house, and that’s before the 2020 NFL Draft.

Right now, Ito Smith will be returning from injury and Qadree Ollison will be building on his four touchdowns in 2020. If the team brings in a mid-round pick at the position, it’ll be a game of musical chairs to see who sticks around and who might be cut (or, flipped for a late draft pick before the regular season).

Perhaps the team carries five running backs and a fullback. Who’s to say; it’s April. But we know now that Hill is for sure going to be in the competition this summer, and with his 2019 production and flashes of promise in the past, he’s got a solid chance of finding a role in Dirk Koetter’s offense.

ESPN’s Vaughn McClure notes that his tender carries a $2.13 million cap hit at the moment, which is a lot for a team strapped for cash. This could hint the team has its eyes on Hill for an expanded role in the offense, but we’ll have to wait on the draft results to know that for sure. Again, it’s a crowded backfield, so it’s tough to know.

We welcome Hill back officially and are curious to see what his future in Atlanta has in store.