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Why the New Orleans Saints should sign T.Y. Hilton

Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is a pending free agent. With his future unknown, here is why the New Orleans Saints should sign the star.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints may already employ All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas, as well as names like Emmanuel Sanders, Tre’Quan Smith and some up and comers like Deonte Harris and Marquez Callaway. However, Sanders could become a cap casualty as the Saints are currently over the salary cap by about $71 million.

If a Sanders cut were to occur, and New Orleans was able to extend and restructure multiple players while also making targeted cuts, they could get under the cap significantly. If they are able to accomplish this feat, there should be some money left to make some moves. One of the first should be for Hilton.

Over the course of the last two seasons in Indianapolis Hilton has experienced a bit of a downturn in production numbers. His 2019 season is easily explainable by looking at his injuries, and 2020 was a season in which he had to gain chemistry with a brand new quarterback with hardly an offseason.

However, that is precisely the reason that Hilton’s market value may be lowered and potentially even affordable for a team like the Saints. At 31-years-old, Hilton still has a few productive seasons in him, and if he is willing to go with a multi-year deal then the money could be backloaded to help mitigate the hit to the 2021 season salary cap.

Spotrac is currently projecting Hilton to sign a contract in the three-year, $30 million range, which could be affordable for New Orleans with some Khai Harley and Mickey Loomis math.

Perhaps the most important factor in this move in Hilton’s fit in head coach Sean Payton’s offensive system. Hilton is a strong, physical receiver who excels at running routes precisely and makes the most of receptions by continuing the play with yards after the catch (YAC). In 2018, almost a third of his receiving yards came from yards after the catch, and while he had some down years the last two seasons, there is no reason why he wouldn’t excel once again.

Aside from his physical attributes and abilities, his veteran presence and leadership ability could help fill a void that will be left by quarterback Drew Brees’ retirement and other potential veteran cuts. Regardless of whether Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill or some other quarterback takes the reins next season, a leader will be needed on the offensive side of the ball. If the franchise is still truly “all in” on winning a Super Bowl next season, then it is the intangibles that will help propel them to achieving that goal. Spending a little of bit of extra money on a player like Hilton could help bring some more of those “intangibles” onto the team.

Admittedly, Hilton is a long shot, however if the Saints do indeed cut Sanders then Hilton becomes that much more of an option. Hilton is a good fit in terms of ability, talent, strengths, and the intangibles such as leadership.

Would you want T.Y. Hilton on the Saints? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Instagram at @SaintsCSC and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @KadeKistner.