New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton spoke with WWL Radio's Bobby Hebert and Kristian Garic on a variety topics Wednesday evening, including Drew Brees' decision to return for the 2020 season and Taysom Hill's status with the team.
WWL Radio: Drew Brees announced his decision to return for the 2020 season. Was there any doubt on your end that he would not be back for 2020?
Payton: "Well, honestly, there was some. We spoke a few times right after the season prior to the Pro Bowl and then after the Pro Bowl. And I think that 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 (that makes up a) season. So, I think to his credit, I know that he spent a lot of time weighing all the pros and cons and periodically I'd send him a text and just see how he was doing. Look, I'm excited because I know exactly how he played last year and he's playing at an elite level still and the one text I said 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. All right? And then probably two or three if you want to play quarterback in the world. So he's done a fantastic job taking care of (himself) both mentally and physically and it is really a credit to him. So look, there are a handful of decisions that were predicated on that decision and that's just how it goes."
WWL Radio: When you have a seasoned veteran guy like Drew, what kind of contract do you agree on, because you look at the market value, how it goes up and the salary cap and all that. What are your expectations as far as in that regard?
Payton: "Listen, it's a great question and I think it's your question for Mickey (Loomis) when you have him on the air in the next week. I would say this to both Drew and Mickey, here we are over many years and every time that subject has come up and it's come up a number of times, in other words, where (when) they're working on a contract, they always seem to get it done in an efficient manner and I think that that won't be any different this time around."
WWL Radio: Do you expect to tender Taysom Hill for that first round compensation level? Considering how much he means to the team and the value
Payton: "Well, there are two (ways) to go about it. Number one, we can sign him to a deal before the league year starts and you never get to that point (of needing to make a tender decision). I think if he was unsigned prior to the league year, I'd anticipate us really paying close attention to that and looking at that first round tender. Now I think it will take some time relative to his contract because it's unique, A, in what he's doing now and (B) what we feel like he can be and what he can do when Drew does retire, so that will probably take a little bit more work than the contract that Mickey does with Drew. But for the fans that are listening, the club that has the RFA player restricted free agent or for that matter, the free agent, you know, the one club they can negotiate with prior to the start of the league year is the club that they're just finished playing with."
WWL Radio: You guys had a pretty special QB room last year. If Taysom were to return, how do you envision his roll and could you see him getting more snaps at QB?
Payton: "I think first off relative to the room and you know, sometimes you're not even aware of it as it's happening, take last year for example, I can't recall a room when you look at Drew and Teddy (Bridgewater) and Taysom in the opportunity for us as coaches to have that type of depth but also quality, not only players but man, fantastic guys. And in all three of them are outstanding leaders and to see Teddy step in like he did last year and shoot, go 5-0 while he was starting. It just depends on kind of the type of guys they are. And then Drew coming back (from injury) and winning and Taysom playing. We were very, very fortunate and in probably you go a whole career and not have that type of quarterback meeting room or depth with guys that can play at such a high level. Moving forward relative to Taysom, there are two ways to think about it. He is certainly someone that we evaluate first and foremost as a quarterback and then secondly he did such a good job and it has really grown, is that tight end (position) if you will, he can run, he understands the passing game very, very thoroughly. He is explosive with the ball in his hands and then lastly, of course, when he's coming in the game as a changeup, whether Drew is on the field or not on the field at that quarterback position, it really gives you a lot of flexibility. And 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 winning that specific game. So, we are fortunate that way."