Because of the expiring CBA and limited cap space for the New England Patriots, if they want to sign a quarterback this offseason, it will likely have to be one that is rather unproven or has struggled since entering the league. That will allow the Patriots to acquire a QB at a modest rate, while rebuilding that player into a capable NFL starter.
One name that has been brought up frequently as a QB who could be on the move this offseason is Saints quarterback Taysom Hill. As the Swiss Army knife of New Orleans' offense, Hill has made it known that he views himself as a franchise QB, and wants to be with a team that views him the same way. Considering Drew Brees could decide to not retire and play another year, or if he does retire, New Orleans could try and re-sign Teddy Bridgewater, the Saints have spoken highly on Hill in the past but would have to put their money where their mouth is if a team tries to sign the restricted free agent this offseason.
Head coach Sean Payton told NBC Sports' Peter King that he believes a team will try to sign Hill to a restricted free-agent contract this offseason. Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman piggy-backed off of Payton's comments, saying the Patriots are a "team to watch" in the Taysom Hill sweepstakes.
"(Sean) Payton told NBC Sports' Peter King that he believes a team will attempt to sign Hill to a restricted free-agent contract this offseason. If a team does, the Saints can match it. The team to watch is the Patriots, who may make a run at Hill whether Tom Brady returns or not," Freeman wrote.
Given Hill's rather unproven ability as a quarterback in the NFL, it's surprising that Freeman mentions New England as a potential Taysom Hill suitor. Having only thrown 16 passes in the regular season since entering the league in 2017, the 29-year-old utility player has left much to be desired for organizations other than the Saints. Because there is very little film of him throwing the football at the professional level, one has to think it would deter many teams from thinking Hill could be a starting-caliber quarterback.
Freeman's scenario seems much more likely if Brady does sign elsewhere during free agency. But the chances still aren't great. Given the offensive system in place in New England, having a quarterback that can sit in the pocket and make tight throws is something that is necessary in order for the unit to move the football consistently. That makes Hill a very unattractive prospect for Bill Belichick and company.
Acquiring a bit of a project at the quarterback position for New England seems necessary if A) Brady leaves, and B) they want to leave themselves enough money to sign other talented players on offense. But Hill, who has remained on an NFL roster by being a utility player, seems to be more of a project than the Patriots can handle at this point, regardless of his price tag and athleticism.