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Ravens may want to consider locking up Will Hill even without playing a game

It's a hypothetical situation worth examining.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Will Hill hasn't played a down yet, but given his history he'd be a large upgrade at free safety.

Let's assume that Hill plays up to his 2013 level and free agency rolls around with plenty of potential suitors for his services.

Jairus Byrd signed a six-year, $56 million agreement with the Saints and Earl Thomas signed a four-year, $40 million deal that made him the highest paid player at his position. If Hill plays like he's the third-best safety in the NFL it's safe to say that teams would ignore his history of NFL substance violations and give him a deal on par with Byrd and Thomas.

Could the Ravens manage the cap to fit Hill's hypothetical pay? Probably, but it doesn't come without a future cost.

Torrey Smith becomes a free agent after this year and despite his currently humble production the Ravens offense is much better with him than without him. Justin Tucker enters free agency in 2015 and the Ravens can't let a kicker of his caliber escape.

Also at the rate Jimmy Smith and Kelechi Osemele are playing right now it would be best for the Ravens to extend the two of them now rather than later, which would force the Ravens to pay more to keep them from hitting free agency.

The Ravens could give Will Hill a big payday, but it might make it difficult to keep some younger players and ultimately the Ravens might decide to go with the cheaper Terrence Brooks next year.