Sean Payton talks Drew Brees return, how Saints may handle Taysom Hill
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton appeared on WWL Radio SportsTalk on Wednesday night with Kristian Garic and Bobby Hebert, discussing the Mardi Gras season, Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, and state of the team. He offered up some really good nuggets in regards to a future deal with his quarterback, and how the team would handle Hill as a restricted free agent. Quickly into the interview, Payton was asked about if there was any doubt of a Brees return for 2020.
"Honestly, there was some," Payton said. "We spoke a few times right after the season, prior to the Pro Bowl, and then after the Pro Bowl. I think it's a big decision, and I say that not speaking for Drew, but a lot goes into it. There's a lot of stress, stress on the family, a lot of sacrifices are made to gear up for what is almost half a year season."
Payton said that knowing Brees, he weighed the pros and cons of his decision. He'd periodically send him a text seeing how he's doing.
"I know exactly how he played last year, and he's playing at an elite level still. In one text I said to to him, 'You know, there's 500,000 people that are as talented as you in the business world,' and I think Drew's extremely talented that way. 'There might be 10 people as talented as you if you want to get into TV, and then probably two or three if you want to play quarterback in the world.'
Payton added that he's done a fantastic job taking care of himself both mentally and physically, and that is a huge credit to him.
"There was a handful of decisions that were predicated on that decision, and that's just how it goes," Payton said.
Naturally, the conversation included what a potential contract could look like for Brees. Payton alluded to that being a great question for Mickey Loomis to tackle when he appears on the show next week, but gave his insight.
"Every time that subject has come up, and it's come up a number of times, where they're working on a contract and they always seem to get it done in an efficient manner, and I think that that won't be any different this time around."
Taysom Hill was the next subject, specifically talking about the tender that could be place on the impending restricted free agent. Payton talked about the two ways that the Saints could go about it, with the first being the team signing him to a contract extension and never getting to that point.
"If he was unsigned prior to the league year, I would anticipate us really paying close attention to that and looking at that first-round tender," Payton said of Hill. "That'll take some time, relative to his contract because it's unique in what he's doing now and what we feel like he can be and what he can do when Drew does retire. So, that will probably take a little more work than the contract that Mickey [Loomis] does with Drew."
Hill said a few days ago that he's in no hurry to leave New Orleans, and will see how the process plays out for him. It's clear that he has made a strong bond with Brees, and Payton was also quick to compliment how good the team's quarterback room that also included unrestricted free agent Teddy Bridgewater was last season, calling them all 'outstanding leaders'.
"He's (Hill) certainly someone that we evaluate first and foremost as a quarterback, and then secondly he did such a good job and has really grown as that 'F' tight end if you will. He can run, he understands the passing game very, very thoroughly. He's explosive with the ball in his hands, and then lastly, of course, when he's coming in the game as a change-up, whether Drew's on the field or not on the field at the quarterback position, it really gives you a lot of flexibility. Quite honestly, it's fun to work with because you can think of a lot of different things that can help you relative to that game plan and win in that specific game. We're fortunate that way."