Sports | November 23, 2021 11:45 am

Taysom Hill and New Orleans Saints Agree to the Ultimate “Prove It” Deal

The Saints and their gadget player/potential franchise QB have inked a deal that will pay him according to position

Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball against the Titans
Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball against the Titans.
Wesley Hitt/Getty

After Taysom Hill signed a four-year contract extension (with all years voidable after 2021) worth $140 million (most of which was not guaranteed) during the offseason to create cap room for the Saints, it was pretty clear that another cleat was going to drop in New Orleans and a contract restructuring would be put in play. 

That restructuring came on Monday when the Saints and their backup quarterback/running back/wide receiver/special teams All-Star agreed to a deal that will pay Hill like a starting quarterback if, and only if, he is able to win the job moving forward.

New Orleans gave the 31-year-old — who led the Saints to a 3-1 record last season as the starting QB when Drew Brees was out with an injury — a four-year, $40 million extension, according to NFL Network. Per ESPN, the deal could reach $95 million with escalators and incentives, largely based on the Swiss-army-knife player, who has completed just seven passes for 56 yards this season, becoming the full-time starter at quarterback in New Orleans. 

According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, the threshold for Hill to be viewed as a starting quarterback under the terms of his deal is throwing 224 passes over the course of a season. That equates to just over 13 passes per game based on the 17-game schedule. (Last season in 16 games Hill attempted 121 passes.) “The number comes from the labor deal; it’s the minimum pass-attempt threshold for incentives,” Florio writes. “For incentives in playoff games, the quarterback trigger is 10 passes per game.”

Potentially good for Hill based on how he performs and at what position, the contract, which includes $22.5 million fully guaranteed, is already a win for the Saints as it gives them some flexibility as well as a reasonable deal on a starting quarterback if Hill plays like one.

Despite being the backup to Brees last season, Hill was unable to beat out Jameis Winston in training camp and performed poorly enough in the summer’s quarterback competition that he has watched Trevor Siemian assume the starting role with Winston out for the year with an ACL injury. A concussion and a foot injury have limited Hill this season but it is certainly possible the Saints will turn to him moving forward if Siemian doesn’t help the Saints snap their three-game losing streak when they host the Bills in New Orleans on Thanksgiving night.

Asked two weeks ago whether he hopes to get another crack at the starting QB job, Hill said, “Of course.”

“I think I’ve been transparent from day one about what the end goal has been here for me. So I don’t really know what to say other than you do your best to stay ready,” Hill said. “Obviously there’s this whole other role that’s there for me. So I’m trying to find a balance of staying ready to be able to do that job at a high level, but it’s not always the easy thing, because there’s this whole other expectation for me that I need to make sure I’m prepared to do. So I’m trying to manage that.”