What Is Hill’s Future With The Saints?
For a few games, there is a chance Hill and the Saints can be productive offensively, but can they rely on him as their starter in the future?
Hill is owed $16 million next season, and with New Orleans sitting at nearly $-100 million in cap space, they aren’t going to have the flexibility to replace Drew Brees, should he retire, with an accomplished veteran option. Thus, Payton is likely going to have be creative with replacing Brees.
Presumably, that would come from the draft, but it appears Payton has had his eyes set on Hill for some time. He has consistently referred to Hill as his “Steve Young”, and there are plenty of rumors to suggest that the plan has been for Hill to be the team’s long-term starter.
Whether it’s Payton being overly-creative or confident in his abilities, or the sunk-cost theory, it certainly looks as though Hill is going to start for the Saints next season. When that happens, I don’t know how that will go.
Sure, Hill played well on Sunday, but he also was a complete unknown, meaning the Falcons didn’t know how to prepare him. Meanwhile, Payton put him in the perfect position to succeed, and when the game script isn’t as favorable, there is not much reason to believe that Hill will step up.
That is especially true when considering that he may have less to work with next season, as the Saints will have to cut ties with several veteran players given their cap issues.
If Payton can make things work with Hill, imagine what he could do with a more efficient passer. In the end, I will always be skeptical of a quarterback that needs to be in the perfect situation to succeed. Quarterbacks are easily the most important players on their respective teams, and it is their job to elevate the rest of the team.
Thus, I would hope that the Saints would strive for greatness at a position to succeed, rather than settling for Hill based on a) the idea of him and b) a small sample size of performance. Nevertheless, these next few games will give us more insight as to his place in New Orleans next season, as well as beyond that.