On Tuesday, news broke that Sean Payton was stepping down as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, a post he’d held since 2006. It’s the end of a true era as Payton’s Saints won nine division titles and won Super Bowl XLIV. He leaves with a 152-89 record in 15 seasons and is sure to be a Hall-of-Famer.
Payton’s reputation is now without its flaws, however. He’ll be remembered for the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal that happened on his watch, which led to his suspension for the entire 2012 NFL season. He was also fined $100,000 by the NFL for not properly wearing a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic in the 2020 season.
And then there’s the Taysom Hill contract. Despite the fact that Hill hasn’t exactly set the NFL world on fire in any substantial way, the Saints went all-in on the special teams player-turned-sometimes-quarterback, even offering him a contract with a massive upside if he is able to become the franchise’s starting quarterback, which seems very unlikely.
Taysom Hill’s hybrid deal is unique and unlike other contracts because it pays him a $40 million base salary for the role that he’s currently playing, and up to an additional $55 million if he does become the Saints’ starting QB for the next four seasons.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 22, 2021
“Taysom Hill’s hybrid deal is unique and unlike other contracts, because it pays him a $40 million base salary for the role that he’s currently playing, and up to an additional $55 million if he does become the Saints’ starting QB for the next four seasons,” Schefter reported at the time.
A lot of people made jokes that the contract was some kind of money laundering scheme, but also, kinda wondered if it was true?
It’s not the first contract between the Saints and Hill that raised eyebrows as he previously signed a 4-year, $140-million extension with the Saints that, in reality, functioned as a 1-year, $12.2-million extension.
Given the way that the Saints are financially tied to Hill, coupled with the departure of Payton, who championed the player for years, left a lot of people to make some very funny jokes about what happens next.
Sean Payton really got the Saints to blow their cap on Taysom Hill and then peaced out. Lol
— James Dator (@James_Dator) January 25, 2022
— The Dawgzilla (@TheDawgzilla) January 25, 2022
Sean Payton getting Taysom Hill on that contact then leaving is, in fact, hilarious.
— Andrew E. Graham (he/him)🗣 (@AndrewEdGraham) January 25, 2022
getting out of the game before the feds comes cracking down on the Taysom Hill money laundering scheme. smart. https://t.co/r2SJgbyOzy
— shamus (@shamus_clancy) January 25, 2022
The next Saints head coach seeing Taysom Hill in the QB room pic.twitter.com/zwy15mEJru
— Clem (@TheClemReport) January 25, 2022
Sean Payton leaving the Saints as they're about to stare down the consequences from years of YOLO spending and draft-pick trades is like bailing after you and your buddies burned down an Air BnB following a week-long rager.
Gotta respect it.
— Robert Mays (@robertmays) January 25, 2022
Good luck to whoever replaces Payton. Not only do you have to live up to replacing the best coach in franchise history, but you also have to figure out what to do with Taysom Hill because no one else is gonna want any part of that contract.