Taysom Hill’s restructured contract might make a Broncos trade tough to pull off

So how long will it take Sean Payton to trade for Taysom Hill? That’s been a common refrain in the weeks since Payton was hired as the Denver Broncos’ new head coach, and it’s easy to see why — he made no secret of his appreciation for Hill’s game when they were together on the New Orleans Saints. Hill was one of Payton’s favorite players in black and gold, and it kind of does feel like only a matter of time until he’s wearing navy and orange. He joked about trading for Hill before he even accepted Denver’s offer.

But the Saints’ decision to restructure Hill’s contract may have bought them some more time with No. 7. By converting most of Hill’s base salary into a signing bonus, they reduced his 2023 salary cap hit to just $6,869,000. But the downside (for interested Broncos fans, and possibly Payton) is that trading Hill now becomes cost-prohibitive for much of the offseason.

The Saints would have to fork over an addition $15,826,000 in salary cap penalties if they traded Hill before June 1 after this restructure, meaning he would be going to another team and leaving behind $22,695,000 in dead money on New Orleans’ spreadsheet. Denver would have to pay a ridiculously steep price in draft picks to make that worthwhile for the Saints. It just isn’t realistic, and it insures Hill will stay in New Orleans for the immediate future.

We aren’t out of the woods yet, though. If the Saints trade Hill after June 1, they will actually save a little money with a new team (like the Broncos) paying his $1,080,000 base salary. They’d be left with $5,789,000 in dead money this year and a staggering $16,906,000 next year, but they could be sweet-talked into accepting that if the compensation is strong enough. But you have to imagine Broncos general manager George Paton would step in and stop Payton from bartering with the first- or second-round picks it would probably take to get New Orleans to offload Hill.

And they didn’t have to do this restructure. If the Saints were open to trading Hill this offseason, it would have made more sense to leave his contract alone (with its $13,925,000 cap hit) until after June 1, at which point they could have traded him to another team like Denver and saved $9.9 million against the cap, fully getting him off their hands. That isn’t the route they chose, though.

So what does this mean? By restructuring Hill’s contract, the Saints have basically reinvested in him and made it clear that he’s in their plans moving forward. And he should be. There have been times when he was the most exciting player on the field with a fleur-de-lis on their helmet. He took over some games last season and proved he can be an asset with a heavier workload so long as the vision for his role is clear. Hopefully offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael doesn’t take so long to get him up to speed in 2023. The Saints are paying Hill too much money to have him on the sidelines.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire