Sean Payton Talks Taysom Hill, Says Saints See Him as Future Starting QB

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 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

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton discussed Taysom Hill's future with the team during an appearance on ESPN's Get Up Tuesday. 

Payton mentioned his desire to continue using Hill in a multitude of ways next season but added that the Saints view him as a future starting quarterback in the NFL as well:

"I think the role is pretty clear, and first and foremost, we still view him as a quarterback, and we spent a lot of time this offseason discussing our vision for him this season at quarterback, but then also at the F-position. And what I mean by that ... that slash, tight end, wide receiver, he's a tremendous blocker, he's physical. I don't think people realize how fast he is. He's probably one of the three or four fastest guys on the team. So, he'll play that F-position, he'll certainly be involved in the kicking game. It's one of the things he takes pride in and is very good at.

"And then the unique situation with our team and with our quarterback, Drew Brees is, he's announced he's coming back for his final season, I think Taysom sees himself as being a starting quarterback in this league and we do too."

Brees signed a two-year, $50 million contract to return as the team's starting quarterback in 2020, while Hill signed a one-year, $4.6 million contract with the Saints after they placed a first-round tender on him. Hill can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season.

The 29-year-old Hill played quarterback in college at BYU, but he has been used in a multitude of ways by Payton in his three years with the Saints.

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In addition to playing a few snaps at quarterback last season, Hill lined up at tight end, wide receiver and in the backfield. He also had a significant role on special teams.

He went 3-of-6 for 55 yards as a passer in 2019, rushed 27 times for 156 yards and a touchdown and caught a career-high 19 passes for 234 yards and six touchdowns. Hill also rushed for 50 yards, completed a 50-yard pass and made two catches for 25 yards and a touchdown in New Orleans' playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Hill was the No. 3 quarterback on the Saints' depth chart last season behind Brees and Teddy Bridgewater, but with Bridgewater joining the Carolina Panthers this offseason, Hill could move into the backup spot in addition to his other duties.

Brees is still a productive quarterback, but at 41 years of age, the 2020 season could be his last. If that is the case, the Saints will have to make a decision on Hill's viability as a starting quarterback following the 2020 campaign.

Hill never reached the 3,000-yard passing mark in a season at BYU and his 43-31 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio left plenty to be desired. He did rush for 2,815 yards and 32 touchdowns in 37 games, though.

Given the success of dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL currently, perhaps there is hope for Hill to be the heir apparent to Brees at quarterback in the next year or two.