Broncos re-sign leading RB Ronnie Hillman to 1-year deal

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Running back Ronnie Hillman will soon join the Denver Broncos' offseason workouts, as he has agreed to a one-year deal to stay with the team that made him a third-round pick in the 2012 draft.

Hillman, who led the Broncos in rushing last season with 863 yards, had been an unrestricted free agent before he agreed to a deal that could be worth as much as $2 million.

Hillman, however, returns to a different depth-chart landscape. Hillman and C.J. Anderson, since Anderson made the roster as an undrafted rookie in 2013, have moved in and out of the starting role at times.

That was true even last season, when Hillman led the team in rushing. By the time the Broncos faced the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, Anderson was the back of choice. Anderson finished the Broncos' 24-10 victory with 90 yards rushing on 20 carries, while Hillman had just five carries in the game for zero yards.

The Broncos matched a four-year, $18 million offer sheet from the Miami Dolphins to retain Anderson this offseason, and with that, Kubiak said, "I think he can be one of the top backs in the league -- and I think he believes that. I think C.J. is a good, young player that has another level to reach, and we're going to do everything we can to get him there."

Anderson will move through the offseason program as the Broncos' No. 1 option in the run game, but there will be some carries to go around, as Kubiak has made it no secret that he intends to pound away a little more at opposing defenses. The team is expected to add at least one fullback in the draft or shortly after, as well.

Re-signing Hillman has been a consideration all along. Kubiak was asked in recent weeks if the Broncos would bring Hillman back, and Kubiak said, "He's obviously been part of the conversation. ... He's a talented young man.''

In four seasons with the Broncos, Hillman has averaged 4.1 yards per carry. Last season was the first in which he played all 16 games. His 11 starts in 2015 were a career most at the time.