1. QB Taysom Hill
Now, let’s get nuts. Sean Payton loves Hill, and based on that it’s easy to just tab him as the Saints’ starting quarterback next season. Re-signing Jameis Winston is possible, but really only if he finds a dry market for his services. Winston will almost surely find a path to a starting job and higher pay somewhere else.
So that would leave Hill and maybe a rookie in the top two spots on the depth chart. The sampling of Hill as quarterback is now bigger, with four starts last season, but he’s still got just 134 regular season pass attempts on his resume. Let’s look to Payton’s most recent praise of Hill, discussing a pure hypothetical of if he were available in a trade.
I don’t think a coach who has full faith in his quarterback would suggest he can play safety, linebacker or tight end too. That’s not to dismiss Hill’s talent, athleticism or ability to play other positions, he’s just shown so few signs he’s an NFL starting quarterback who won’t be figured out quickly.
If there’s a bigger fish even remotely on the table in the coming weeks (Ben Roethlisberger? Jimmy Garoppolo?), it’s hard to see Saints turning a complete blind eye to it. Over $11 million in dead money is not ideal ($5 million in created cap space), but there’s a chance the Saints would cut Hill if they can someone make a notable move to supplant him. He’s not good enough to hold them hostage in the way his contract might suggest.