Bridgewater, Hill's futures uncertain with Saints

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The first domino in the New Orleans Saints' quarterback quagmire hammered down Tuesday with Drew Brees announcing he'll return in 2020.

The 41-year-old future Hall of Famer's decision to play a 20th season was an anticipated move, but one that begins to bring clarity to the position in Sean Payton's offense.

There seems little question a contract will be handled to figure out the financials of Brees' return, but where those numbers ultimately land will play a role in how the rest of the position shakes out.

Brees is the starter. No questions there.

The next query is where Teddy Bridgewater lands.

The 27-year-old quarterback eschewed signing with the Miami Dolphins last offseason with a chance to compete for a starting gig, instead re-upping in New Orleans to back up Brees. With Teddy B making five starts -- all wins -- he's likely ready to strike out on his own in search of a starting job, or at least the ability to compete for one on a team he doesn't believe is setting up to lose games like Miami last year.

Teams like the Chargers, Colts, Buccaneers, Bears, perhaps the Panthers and others could all be potential landing spots for Bridgewater depending on how the QB musical chairs fall this offseason. The question is whether the man known as Teddy Two Gloves will find a spot to compete for a starting gig, or perhaps wind up as a bridge quarterback to a rookie or young QB.

Brees' decision all but officially ends Bridgewater's run in New Orleans.

The other quarterback in the triumvirate, Taysom Hill, is a far more interesting case. Entering his fourth year, Hill is a restricted free agent. How high a tender (likely second- or first-round) the Saints place on Hill will determine his future in New Orleans. If, for example, the team places a second-round tender on Hill, a team viewing him as a future starter could sign the QB to a potential offer too rich for the Saints to match and give up a draft pick.

Depending on where the Saints actually land on Brees' contract, it could influence the thinking with Hill.

Payton, however, loves Hill's potential, and the multifaceted talent was the best Saints player in their playoff loss last month. Brees has already said this offseason he's comfortable if Payton wants to up Hill's playing time moving forward. Hill, however, turns 30 before the 2020 season, has never been a full-time QB and struggles with accuracy at times. The Saints effectively run two different offenses between Hill and Brees.

Payton likely daydreams of all the creative ways he could use Hill in a Lamar Jackson-type offense. But with Brees coming back, the full-scale overhaul will wait, at least for another season.

With Brees' return, it seems the most likely scenario in New Orleans is the HOFer starts, Teddy B leaves for potential fertile pasture, and Hill remains the backup with an increased role.

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