Far Fetch

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The Saints have a bird in the hand with Taysom Hill. After the season, it will be interesting to see whether and to what extent coach Sean Payton and company go looking for a major upgrade.

The return of Drew Brees to the Superdome on Thursday night served as a clear reminder of what the team no longer has, and of what it so badly needs. A franchise quarterback.

Hill, who gets a little as $20 million through 2023 and as much at $94 million through 2025 (check out the full breakdown here), gives them someone they can use if they can’t find a much better option elsewhere. The question becomes whether a much better option will be available.

In March, Russell Wilson‘s agent specifically identified the Saints as one of the four teams to which Wilson would accept a trade. Although Wilson’s performance this year has dipped, Payton could be fascinated by the possibilities of constructing an offense around the quarterback who throws the best deep ball in all of football, and who can accurately distribute the various short routes that fuel the New Orleans offense. Aaron Rodgers also could be interested in the Saints.

Second-tier options will be available as well, but it takes a lot more effort to coax a player of that skill level into the top tier. Jameis Winston, before his Week Eight knee injury, wasn’t performing like a franchise quarterback — in large part because he lacked the pinpoint accuracy that makes Payton’s short passing game go.

The Saints also could consider a rookie. With four straight losses and a 5-6 record, New Orleans could end up in striking position to do what Sean Payton wanted to do in 2017, when he was one just pick away from landing Patrick Mahomes.

It also won’t be a surprise, frankly, if Payton’s name makes a re-emergence on the Sunday Splash! circuit as a guy who could be moving on after the season. As some who chase a constant content quota may conclude, if Payton can’t bring a franchise quarterback to him, maybe he’ll take himself to a franchise quarterback.

Regardless, the Saints have gone from 5-2 to 5-6. Injuries haven’t helped. A prime-time date with the Cowboys in the Superdome is looming. At times on Thursday night, “who dat?” morphed into “boo dat.” Another loss would extend the current streak to five.

For a team that has enjoyed a high level offense for most of the past 16 seasons, things are getting closer and closer to “something’s gotta give” territory. Over the final six weeks of the season, it’s a situation that merits careful consideration.