Shaun Hill agrees to a one-year deal with the Rams
Matthew Stafford has started every game over the last three seasons, but the Detroit Lions always knew they had the ideal security blanket just in case anything happened to him.
Shaun Hill, who has spent the last four years as Stafford’s backup, agreed to terms Wednesday on a one-year deal with the St. Louis Rams.
Hill was an unrestricted free agent and had considered returning to Detroit for another year, but St. Louis also needed a back-up plan for starting quarterback Sam Bradford. It didn’t hurt the Rams’ case that Hill has a home in Missouri.
Hill, 34, was as reliable as they come during his time in Detroit. There was no better example of his ability to jump in and produce at any moment than in 2012 at Tennessee when he took over for an ailing Stafford with 1:16 remaining and nearly pulled out a comeback victory.
Hill threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson to give the Lions a chance and after they recovered an on-side kick, he added a 46-yard Hail May to Titus Young that sent the game to overtime, only to lose by a field goal.
The assumption is that Hill can still execute in those types of situations, but who really knows at this point? He’s getting older and he’s only played in five games the last three seasons with no real quality time since those heroics in Tennessee.
He didn’t even throw a pass last season.
The next-best option on the Lions’ current roster is Kellen Moore, who has been the No. 3 quarterback the last two seasons after being signed as an undrafted free agent coming out of Boise State in 2012.
Moore is the winningest quarterback in college football history (50-3), but he has not shown enough to this point to believe he’s capable of handling a No. 2 job in the NFL.
There had been speculation that the Lions could turn to Luke McCown, whose position coach last season with the New Orleans Saints was Joe Lombardi, Detroit’s new offensive coordinator.
But McCown decided to re-sign Wednesday with the Saints.
Assuming Mark Sanchez goes to Philadelphia as expected, the top free-agent quarterbacks still remaining on the market include Josh Freeman (Minnesota), Kevin Kolb (Buffalo), Colt McCoy (San Francisco), Matt Flynn (Green Bay) and David Garrard (New York Jets).
The Lions also could use a draft pick to fill the void.
"We would definitely consider drafting a quarterback as our backup," general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters at the NFL owners meetings earlier this week in Orlando.
Quarterbacks who are expected to be available in the second round or later include Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger (coming off knee injury), Georgia’s Aaron Murray (coming off knee injury) and San Jose State’s David Fales.