KSL UNRIVALED

Unrivaled: What Is Taysom Hill’s Future Without Sean Payton In New Orleans?

Jan 28, 2022, 12:54 PM | Updated: 12:55 pm
Taysom Hill - New Orleans Saints...
Taysom Hill #7 of the New Orleans Saints looks to make a second quarter pass against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 06, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The New Orleans Saints need a new head coach.

Sean Payton stepping down is possibly a worst-case scenario for former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill.

Payton is known as an offensive innovator and it showed; the Saints were always one of the higher scoring teams in the NFL. He was able to use Reggie Bush in a way running backs usually weren’t. While Bush didn’t live up to the monster hype as the No. 2 overall pick and Heisman Trophy winner from USC, Payton was able to make him a great receiving back and a good combo guy with other running backs on the roster.

With that type of offensive mind, he helped find a way to get athletes on the field and that included putting Hill on special teams and using him at tight end, H-Back, wide receiver, and basically anywhere on offense to get him on the field. It worked quite well and Hill became a player to watch during the 2019 season.

Payton seemed enamored with Hill and even felt that he could be a Steve Young-like player.

“If you look back through Steve’s career, people don’t remember his time before he came into the NFL,” Payton said. “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.”

Hill earned the chance to be a starter when Drew Brees went down with an injury during the 2020 season but he was passed over in 2021 when Jamies Winston was named the starter. In 2021, Payton went with Winston but then he tore his ACL; due to injuries of his own, Hill was not immediately named the starter.

Ultimately, he started five games going 4-1. He went 7-2 for his career as a starter. He also has 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.

Unrivaled’s Scott Mitchell who played for 12 years in the NFL gave his honest take on Hill in that Payton was able to turn an amazing athlete into a starting quarterback.

“Taysom Hill could not throw the football. He was not a very accurate thrower of the football but an amazing athlete,” Mitchell said. “Sean Payton developed and saw a guy that could potentially be a starter in the NFL.

“I’m just giving you – BYU fans settle down – I’m just giving you my honest opinion. I know Taysom Hill can’t throw the ball very well. That’s just how it is.  He found a place for Taysom Hill and it’s sad. I’m just telling you it’s so sad for football that a mind like his (Payton) is walking away.”

What is next for Hill will largely depend on who replaces Payton and the type of player they sign or draft to be a quarterback.

Contract, Next Coach Are Key For Hill

One possibly large albatross around Hill is not only his contract but the Saints money situation, which is not ideal.

There are options for the Saints to restructure Hill’s deal or even take the upcoming $9 million roster bonus and convert it to a signing bonus to spread that amount over years and lower the cap hit.

Whoever the head coach is will have a decision to make on whether to keep Hill, redo is deal, or let him go. Even cutting him will have an impact on the salary cap issues the Saints currently face. They are a whopping $74 million over the cap at this moment.

Payton was an offensive-minded coach and not afraid to get creative but will the next coach have a similar method? Current Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is in the running as is current Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael. The latter would be the better choice for Hill’s future with the Saints, either to compete as the starting quarterback or to play his utility role that made him a fan favorite.

“Taysom Hill has essentially, in a very humble way, created his career in the NFL,” Mitchell said.”That ship has probably sailed for him. Will they keep him in all the value that he brings for $20 million? The reality that he could actually be an emergency quarterback for you or backup quarterback for you, it might be worth that.”

For Hill, it all comes down to the next head coach of the New Orleans Saints.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-7 p .m. on 1280 The Zone and 97.5 FM or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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