Seahawks 2021 Free Agent Primer: Lano Hill

Injuries prevented Hill from carving out a long-term role in Seattle's secondary as the front office envisioned when he was drafted in 2017. After missing most of the 2020 season, is there any chance the team could give him one more shot?
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Following an early Wild Card round exit, the Seahawks have officially transitioned into an offseason that could be one of the most significant of the Pete Carroll and John Schneider era.

When the new 2021 league year kicks off in March, Seattle will have a whopping 24 players set to become unrestricted free agents. Four players will be restricted free agents, while six will be exclusive rights free agents and several others will be entering the final year of their current contracts ready to negotiate extensions, including safety Jamal Adams.

Over the next several weeks, I will break down each and every one of the Seahawks' unrestricted free agents by revisiting their 2020 seasons, assessing why they should or should not be re-signed, breaking down an ideal contract, and making an early prediction on whether or not the player will return in 2021.

Up next in the series, injuries limited former third-round pick Lano Hill to just two games in 2020. Could the Seahawks have interest in bringing him back to compete for a roster spot in a reserve role?

Season In Review

With Seattle adding Jamal Adams via trade in late July, Hill battled for a reserve role in training camp and beat out Ryan Neal for a roster spot. Seeing action in sub packages, he logged 29 defensive snaps and recorded five tackles in a season-opening win over the Falcons. After Quandre Diggs was ejected for an illegal hit, Hill replaced him in the lineup for the duration of a Week 2 victory over the Patriots, again finishing with five tackles in extensive action. He suffered an apparent back injury during the game and after missing three weeks, Seattle placed him on injured reserve and he wound up missing the rest of the season.

Why Seattle Should Re-Sign Him

When Hill has been healthy, he has been one of Seattle's more effective special teams players, though he has dealt with penalty issues on kick and punt coverage. He produced eight special teams tackles in his first three NFL seasons and consistently drew praise from coach Pete Carroll for his efforts in that phase of the game. On defense, Hill showed some potential as a box safety during the 2018 season, including matching up well against 49ers star tight end George Kittle in coverage during a Week 15 loss in San Francisco. At 216 pounds, he has the size to hold up at the point of attack as a run defender and has flashed occasionally getting into the backfield to bring down ball carriers for tackles for loss.

Why Seattle Should Let Him Walk

Though Hill has shown himself capable of being a serviceable strong safety in the NFL, the addition of Adams and emergence of Neal leaves little chance for him to earn a roster spot at the position. He's a one-dimensional defender who allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a passer rating of 109.7 or higher against him in coverage each of the past three seasons. Carroll wants his safeties to be interchangeable and possess the ability to play both the free and strong positions and Hill doesn't fit the bill. Even considering his special teams contributions, he has not been able to stay on the field and has missed 21 combined games due to injury in his career.

Ideal Contract

1 year at $910,000

Prediction

When the Seahawks drafted Hill in 2017, the organization viewed him as a potential successor to Kam Chancellor at strong safety. But it became clear early in his career that he wasn't an NFL starter and the inability to develop him played a significant role in the team's decision to send multiple first-round picks to the Jets for Adams. Last season, the team hoped to see him evolve into a quality rotational defender and unfortunately, he couldn't stay healthy long enough to take advantage of what will likely be his final opportunity in Seattle. It's not impossible he could be re-signed late in free agency to compete for a reserve role, but the presence of Neal makes bringing him back unnecessary and it's time for the franchise to move on.

Previous Seahawks Free Agent Primers

Chris Carson

K.J. Wright

Shaquill Griffin

Mike Iupati

Benson Mayowa

Quinton Dunbar

Ethan Pocic

Jacob Hollister

Bruce Irvin

Carlos Hyde

Cedric Ogbuehi

David Moore