For all the wrinkles Taysom Hill can add to an offense, the outlook on his NFL future is a simple one — at least from his vantage point.
“I definitely view myself as a franchise quarterback,” Hill said in a recent interview with the Associated Press’ Rob Maaddi. “I think as you look at the other questions: Is it New Orleans? Is it somewhere else? As you go into free agency, this is the time that you start to find out how people view you. We haven’t gotten into free agency long enough to really know how these guys view me and we’ll just handle it as it comes.”
Quarterback quandaries for the Saints are numerous this offseason.
New Orleans is still waiting on a decision from Drew Brees as to whether he’ll be retiring or returning — if the latter is true it’s assumed he’ll continue as the starter. Teddy Bridgewater, the team’s backup who started in Brees’ injured absence this past year, is also a free agent. And Hill, a do-it-all threat who was a quarterback at Brigham Young, is a restricted free agent who believes he can be a starting quarterback and wants a chance to show it.
His aforementioned comments were in response to whether he’d be Brees’ heir apparent. He went on to state the he has thoroughly enjoyed his time in New Orleans, but if the Saints don’t see him as a QB1, he’ll be moving on to a franchise that does.
“I have loved every second of my time (in New Orleans). So do I want to leave? The fact of the matter is no, I don’t,” Hill said. “But as you look at free agency, you have to find the right opportunity for you. You have to find the situation to take care of your family. I want to play quarterback in this league, and if New Orleans don’t view me that way, well then I have to leave. That’s really where we’re at.”
Hill did not specify any type of timeline however. Thus, returning to back up Brees could be in place, but Hill’s clarity comes in that he wants to be a starting quarterback in the future. Just when that future comes to fruition would be among the questions.
Having played all three of his NFL seasons with the Saints, Hill has lined up at tight end, wide receiver, quarterback and contributed on special teams.
Last year, he completed three passes for 55 yards, rushed for 50 in four carries and caught two balls for 25 yards. It was in the Saints‘ NFC Wild Card Round loss to the Vikings in which Hill’s legend began to truly blossom as he had four carries for 50 yards, hauled in a touchdown catch and completed a crucial 50-yard pass.
“This last season has been so much fun for me,” he said. “We have such a great locker room. You talk about being able to play with a guy and being able to be a part of Drew Brees and all the records he’s breaking. And then coach Payton is notorious for always having things to switch it up, that just make it so much fun.
“I hope [Brees] comes back. I would love to play with him again. He’s become one of my best friends.”
Whether the Saints see Hill as the man who takes over for his best friend might well be the deciding factor in the dynamic offensive weapon returning to New Orleans or moving on.