Taysom Hill Congratulates Drew Brees on Retirement: 'I Will Be Forever Grateful'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2021

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) and quarterback Taysom Hill (7) stand on the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
Bill Feig/Associated Press

New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill congratulated Drew Brees on his retirement and thanked him for his mentorship over the past four seasons.

Hill posted a statement on Instagram on Monday, one day after Brees announced he was stepping away from the NFL following a 20-year career:

"Congratulations to one of the best football players I have ever been able to witness play this great game. It has been one of the highlights of my career being able to observe and watch you play. Thank you for showing me what it takes to be a great player in this league. But more importantly, thank you for showing me how to be a good husband and father. I will be forever grateful for the mentor and friend you have been to me."

For now, the 30-year-old BYU product is penciled in as the Saints' new starting quarterback with Jameis Winston, last year's backup, set to become an unrestricted free agent and Trevor Siemian being the only other quarterback currently on the roster for 2021.

ESPN's Dianna Russini reported New Orleans is trying to bring back Winston, who would then compete with Hill for the starting job in training camp.

Hill was given a four-start audition while Brees was injured last season, and he played well. He completed 71.9 percent of his throws for 834 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. He added 209 rushing yards and four scores on the ground.

The Idaho native, who typically filled a multifaceted playmaker role within the Saints lineup when Brees was healthy, has long stated his desire to play quarterback full time.

"Coach [Sean Payton] and I have had, we've had a few conversations about that," Hill told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk in December. "And I have said that. He knows how I feel about how I can play and I know how he feels about me, too."

Hill reworked his contract Sunday with every NFL's front office new favorite tool, voidable years, with a four-year, $140 million contract extension that actually provided him with no new money or years on his deal, per ESPN's Mike Triplett.

It was merely a mechanism to save $7.7 million against the cap, and coincidentally, that money could now be used to help bring Winston back into the fold.

All told, Brees' retirement will make the Saints' quarterback battle one of the most intriguing storylines throughout the preseason. Hill patiently waited for his opportunity to take over the top spot on the depth chart and could explore his options as a free agent next offseason if Winston wins the job instead.

Hill will look to use all the information he gleaned from Brees over the past four years to his advantage once camp gets underway.