Who would have ever thought this conversation would be coming up? It was just last season Cleveland Browns fans were enamored with their city's new-found "White Rhino" at running back. His cult-hero status had swept over Cleveland, and even comparison jokes to Chuck Norris were circulating the Internet.
Now it seems that one case of strep throat and a whole lot of media attention has Peyton Hillis in a contract year with people clamoring to trade him for what the team can get.
How quickly things change. The NFL has always been a "what have you done for me lately?" league, but this situation is quickly being blown out of proportion. In case you have forgotten just who No. 40 is, let's take a look at five reasons why the Browns would be fools to trade him.
For the Cleveland Browns, that player is Peyton Hillis.
Last season, Hillis ran for more than 1,000 yards. What analysts tend to forget, however, is that he did not start until Week 3 and played through injured ribs the final three games.
To still manage that many yards should be a testament to his abilities. With Hillis entering his prime, it's no time to gamble if last season was just a one-hit wonder.
The Browns are currently undergoing a youth movement with the young nucleus like Joe Thomas, Josh Cribbs and Evan Moore being signed to contract extensions.
With the chemistry built between Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis, it's no time to be breaking up the band.
The running game takes pressure off the quarterback and receivers, and Hillis does it as well as any running back in the game today.
At the end of the day, it's no secret that ticket sales drive a team's ownership. When you have a likable character like Hillis on your team, it only serves to benefit your merchandising, ticket sales and overall fanbase.
Fans were so enamored with his personality and style of the bruising running back that he carried a grassroots campaign all the way to the cover of Madden 2012. Trading away a fan favorite like him would not be in the best interest of an up-and-coming young team.
There is an extreme lack of depth at the position for the Browns due to injuries. Trading Hillis would leave the Browns with injury-prone back Montario Hardesty and preseason fumble-prone back Armond Smith.
There is absolutely no way that sending in an undrafted rookie like Smith, and essentially a first-year rookie coming off injury like Hardesty, against the likes of the Ravens and Steelers run defense is a good idea.
Unless Cleveland plans to draft another running back in the 2012 draft, locking up Hillis is essential.
Hillis has been valuable in rushing, receiving and blocking for McCoy, developing their repertoire over the past two seasons. Pulling the plug on him and bringing in a new running back is counter-productive to the offense. If Hardesty's recent dropped passes are any indication, it shows that reps and consistency win ballgames.
Peyton Hillis should be given an extension of four years and $14 million to bump him up into the top 10 of running backs in the league. This would take him to the age of 29, when runners typically start dropping off, and will reward him for his hard work and contributions to the team.