LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams reacquired Troy Hill on Saturday, sending a fifth-round pick in 2023 to the Cleveland Browns in a trade for the versatile defensive back.
Hill spent five seasons with the Rams after their return to Los Angeles in 2016, and he became a key component of their secondary as their top slot defender and nickel back. He started 39 games — including all 16 in the 2020 season — and made seven interceptions, returning two for touchdowns.
He left the Rams as a free agent in March 2021 for a two-year, $9 million contract with Cleveland. Hill was a solid presence on an inconsistent Browns defense, making 49 tackles and two sacks in 12 games despite missing time with a knee injury and a sprained neck.
Cleveland drafted Mississippi State’s Martin Emerson in the third round on Friday, adding youth and depth to its secondary while possibly decreasing Hill’s role.
The 30-year-old Hill seems likely to reassume his role as a key defensive back for the Rams, who lost starting cornerback Darious Williams to Jacksonville in free agency last month.
The Rams won the Super Bowl in their first season without Hill, whose base salary is $1.5 million for 2022. Hill attended high school in Ventura County, where the Rams’ training complex is located.
The Rams also lost safety John Johnson as a free agent to Cleveland before last season, but Los Angeles’ championship defense thrived despite a secondary that didn’t have the overall talent of the 2020 group. David Long, Dont’e Deayon and rookie Robert Rochell all had little consistent success in Hill’s former role as the Rams’ fifth defensive back.
The Rams announced the deal during the fourth round of the NFL draft, moments after choosing cornerback Decobie Durant of South Carolina State.
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed.
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