Inside the unique contract extension the Saints gave Taysom Hill

The Saints raised some eyebrows around the league earlier in the week, reaching a four-year, $40 million extension with quarterback/tight end/special teamer Taysom Hill.

It was a large deal for a player who has amassed just 156 total scrimmage yards this season, though one more valuable to New Orleans and Sean Payton than anyone else.

A closer look at the complex, incentive-laden deal lays out how much Hill can earn and explains why the Saints did it. Essentially, they paid him the sum of all the roles he fills, while leaving significant upside in case he somehow becomes the starting QB.

According to a source, here is how the deal breaks down:

  • It’s a four-year, $40 million contract that has a new-money average per year of $10 million, with $11.1 million fully guaranteed at signing and $21 million guaranteed by year two. It also has an upside potential of a whopping $55 million, which is where it gets interesting.
  • Most, if not all, of his incentives and upside appear to be tied to Hill becoming a starting quarterback, a role he has only achieved for a few games.
  • There is $1 million possible in incentives for the 2021 season, all of which appear to be a long shot. He gets $150,000 each for 70% offensive plays and 11-plus regular-season wins, 3,250-plus passing yards, 90-plus passer rating (minimum 224 attempts), 25 passing touchdowns, 65% completion percentage (min. 224 attempts) and 600 rushing yards. He also gets $450,000 for 50% postseason offensive plays and a Super Bowl appearance, and $250,000 for being the AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year or MVP.
  • In each year from 2022 to 2025, Hill can earn up to $4.5 million in QB incentives, which could total $18 million if he hits them all. It breaks down like this: $500,000 each for 3,250-plus passing yards, 4,000-plus passing yards, and a 90-plus passer rating (min. 224 attempts). He gets $750,000 for 25 passing TDs, and another $1.25 million for 30 passing TDs. He closes it out with $1 million available if he completes 65% of his passes (min. 224 attempts).
  • From 2023 to 2025, Hill has escalators each year he can hit that only pay off with a minimum of 224 passing attempts. The yearly total could reach $12 million if he hits them all, worth $36 million in all. The breakdown begins at 70% of offensive plays and 11 regular-season wins, which gets him $750,000. He gets $250,000 more for a 12th win and another $250,000 for a 13th win. With the same stipulation, he gets $500,000 for a wild-card bye and another for each postseason win. Hill gets $1 million for being 10th in points scored and another $1 million for being 10th or better in total offense. If he plays 50% of the offensive plays and has 10 passing yards in the conference championship, he gets $750,000 and another $750,000 for a championship game victory. With that same criteria, he gets $1 million for a Super Bowl appearance and $1.5 million for a Super Bowl win.
  • Finally, there are escalators for rushing yards. He gets $250,000 for six touchdowns, 8 TDs and 10 TDs. He also gets $500,000 for 600 rushing yards and another $500,000 for a Pro Bowl.
  • In all, the contract can be worth $95 million.

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