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Saints Rumors: Taysom Hill Gets 1st-Round Tender Ahead of Restricted Free Agency

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2020

New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill warms up before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

Taysom Hill isn't going anywhere.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the New Orleans Saints are placing a first-round tender on Hill, meaning they can match any offer made to him in restricted free agency and would receive a first-round pick if they let him sign elsewhere.

He also noted that the Saints "plan to re-sign him soon anyway."

Schefter added that Hill's first-round tender "is expected to come in around $5 million for 2020. But the Saints believe they'll have a deal done with [Hill] before free agency, when another team can sign him to an offer sheet."

The Saints appear to believe Hill, 29, is the eventual successor to 41-year-old franchise legend Drew Brees. Head coach Sean Payton said over the summer that he believed Hill could become the next Steve Young, per Mike Triplett of ESPN:

"Well, if you look back at Steve's career, and people don't remember his time before he came into the NFL, you had a very athletic player that I think advanced when he got to San Francisco. And he always had great ability with his legs.

"So you're trying to create visions for players. [...] And I think that that's the business we're in. ... That was something that as you began to watch [Hill's] skill set, you're just trying to think of players that were similar at an early stage in their career."

But while Hill has done a little bit of everything for the Saints, the one thing he hasn't done with much regularity is throw the football. He's attempted just 13 regular-season passes during his NFL career, completing six of them for 119 yards and an interception. And when Brees went down with a thumb injury this past year, it was Teddy Bridgewater whom the Saints turned to as the backup quarterback. 

It's possible, of course, that New Orleans is trying to dissuade teams from signing Hill to an offer sheet that would jack up his overall value, seeing as they reportedly are keen to re-sign him. It's hard to imagine another franchise would give up a first-round pick to sign a player with 13 career passes under his belt. 

And Hill has added value in New Orleans, where he would not only be the backup quarterback but also an offensive and special teams weapon. Combine that impact with the potential belief that he has the upside to be a franchise signal-caller in the coming years, and the Saints' desire to keep Hill makes more sense, even at an inflated cost. 

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