After a brief period of uncertainty regarding Drew Brees’ future with the New Orleans Saints, The 41-year-old quarterback confirmed on Instagram he’d be returning in 2020 for another shot at a Lombardi Trophy.
This is good news for Saints fans, as Brees presents the best option at the quarterback position for the 2020 season.
It raises the question, however: what does this mean for the rest of the Saints quarterback room?
Teddy is likely gone, as his only legitimate shot at becoming the Saints’ starter was if Brees were to retire. With Brees back and considering Teddy’s presumed asking price, I see no scenario where he returns to New Orleans, unfortunately.
This leaves Taysom Hill. The do-it-all Iron Man’s future was up in the air to begin with, and Brees’ return makes it all the more clouded.
The Saints can sign Hill to a mid-tier tender worth about $3.2 million or a top-level one worth around $4.6 million. They can then recoup a first or second round pick if another team offers Hill and the offer sheet isn’t matched by the Saints, depending on which tender they place on him.
At this point, it’s unclear what the Saints intentions are. Sean Payton can say all he wants about how Hill is a franchise quarterback, but until I see him invest real assets into him, get him off the special teams squad and make him Brees’ clear backup, that just seems like lip service.
And with Hill’s statement indicating his determination to become a franchise QB, I don’t blame Payton a bit for working the media.
If they follow the same formula put in place in 2018 by trading for Bridgewater, the Saints front office can target a young QB in an unfavorable situation, even if Hill stays in the Big Easy. Whether it be trading for Josh Rosen or signing Marcus Mariota, a cheap backup with starting experience appears to be something Payton and Mickey Loomis highly value.
Or they could go the draft route. Sitting at pick 24 in the upcoming draft, it’s unlikely the Saints are going to find the young quarterback of their dreams that late. Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa will almost definitely be gone by then, and there’s no other quarterback in the draft who is enough of a sure thing to dedicate the future of the franchise to with full confidence.
However, if a team were to sign Taysom Hill to an offer sheet and give the Saints another high-round pick, it could give them enough ammunition to put a trade together to move up.
Loomis and Payton trading away or spending any more draft capital for a quarterback other than Hill would be a clear indication that Hill is not a long-term solution at QB. That would make two separate occasions where Payton could have made Hill the heir apparent to Brees, but decided against it.
In the event that Hill is upgraded to the second-string QB, it will be more than interesting to see how he is utilized.
Out of Hill’s 572 total snaps in 2019, 531 of them came at positions other than QB. It’s imperative to remember his age and injury history when considering this.
If the 29-year-old Hill is utilized in a role like this for another season, he’ll be susceptible to injury once again.
It’d be safe to assume the number of snaps at other positions would go down and his snaps at QB would go up, in this scenario. Yet, that takes away a lot of what makes him special: the versatility.
If he needs to be protected from himself, his running and receiving threats are automatically diminished. Then you’re left relying on his passing, of which there is little to no evidence to prove he’s capable of doing at even an average level.
Brees could retire after 2020 and Hill would be nearly 31 before the 2021 season with a long list of knee injuries dating back to his days at BYU.
Is this what the franchise wants to hang its hat on for the future?
Mark me in Camp Dubious.
My guess is if Hill is offered anything over $8-10 million or so annually by another team, the Saints let him walk and take the pick. If they put the second-round tender on him, it’s possible they turn down a late second-rounder to keep him at that price, but I’d be surprised.
It goes without being said that if any team offers a first-rounder to sign him to an offer sheet, taking the pick is an easy decision.
If no one offers him, the Saints should be happy to keep him at a low price for another year.
I’d love to be proven wrong. An offense led by Taysom Hill and Sean Payton would be the ultimate experiment, and it’d be a blast.
I just need to see more before I’m convinced Sean Payton and the Saints front office are legitimately willing to hand Hill the keys to the sports car that drives New Orleans football.