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Saints Retain TE Josh Hill; Sign Craig Robertson

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The Saints have exercised their right of refusal and retained Josh Hill. Mickey Loomis announced the move Friday along with officially signing Craig Robertson.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

From the Saints:

New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis announced Friday that the club has signed unrestricted free agent linebacker Craig Robertson to a three-year contract. The team also announced that it has exercised its right of first refusal on the offer sheet extended by the Chicago Bears and have retained restricted free agent tight end Josh Hill.


Robertson, entering his fifth NFL season, first entered the league late in the 2011 season on the Cleveland Browns practice squad and has appeared in 58 contests and started 37 games for Cleveland, posting career totals of 315 tackles (201 solo), four sacks, six interceptions, 15 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and 232 special teams stops.

A 6-1, 234-pound native of Stafford, Texas who played at North Texas, in 2015 Robertson opened played in 12 games with nine starts for Cleveland and posted 50 tackles (30 solo), one interception, a career-high five passes defensed, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and nine special teams stops. In 2014, he played in all 16 games with 11 starts for the Browns and recorded a career-high 92 tackles (52 solo), two interceptions, four passes defensed and one fumble recovery. For his community outreach efforts, Robertson was named the Browns' 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year.

As a four-year letterman at North Texas, Robertson appeared in 48 games from 2007-10 and totaled 382 career tackles, 3.5 sacks and nine interceptions. In addition to his bachelor's degree, he has also obtained a master's degree in programming.

The 6-5, 250-pound Hill returns to New Orleans after signing an offer sheet from the Chicago Bears on Tuesday, March 22. Hill, entering his fourth NFL season, originally joined the Saints as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 NFL Draft out of Idaho State. He has appeared in 46 career games for the Saints, with 13 in a starting role, and has recorded 36 receptions 340 yards and eight touchdowns while also contributing with 24 tackles on special teams.

Hill saw action in all 16 games during the 2015 season, with seven starts and registered a career-high 16 catches for 120 yards with two touchdowns and also recorded six special teams tackles. In 2014, he hauled in 14 receptions for 176 yards and five touchdowns along with a team-leading 15 stops on special teams.

But what about the cap?!?! On 3-9-2016 the official year began and all teams had to be within the cap limits before 4 PM EST. So how at the Saints doing all this. The Saints had only $273,000 in cap dollars available after the official James Laurinaitis signing . Josh Hill's previous numbers were already included, so we'll have to see how his contract details play out. Expect more back-loading, restructures, cuts or trades in the days ahead. While Craig Robertson will now have to be included, this won't affect the cap until he signs  the dotted line and it is turned into the NFL and NFLPA. Mickey must really be working those calculator keys as we speak. Any minimum salary rules we have won't cover the Robertson signing for 3 years. Going to be interesting to see what transpires in the next few days. Especially if you consider the Saints are still considering themselves in the running for Nick Fairley. We will also have some rookies to sign ahead. I don't have the answers, and I guess that's why I'm not the GM. Perhaps we are getting close to a Drew Brees extension.