Broncos Writer Believes Sean Payton Should Reunite With $40 Million ‘Swiss Army Knife’

Sean Payton and Taysom Hill

Getty Could Broncos HC Sean Payton reunite with a former Saints star in Denver?

Under first-year head coach Sean Payton, the Denver Broncos were middle of the pack in scoring offense.

The Broncos finished the 2023 campaign 19th in scoring at 21 points per game, its ninth consecutive season averaging under 23 points.

Mike Klis of 9NEWS Denver believes Payton reuniting with “Swiss Army Knife” utility player Taysom Hill might improve Denver’s offense in 2024.

“Hill was at his best as a passer in Payton’s final two years as the Saints’ head coach in 2020-21,” Klis wrote in his January 18 article. “Throwing for better than 900 yards with 4 touchdowns in each season. As a runner and receiver, Hill had two of his best years after Payton left the program, as [Pete] Carmichael often made him a “Wildcat” red-zone threat. Hill rushed for a combined 976 yards and 11 touchdowns the past two seasons and added a career-most 33 catches for 291 yards in 2023.”

Hill played under Payton on the New Orleans Saints from 2017-21. Despite being designated as a quarterback, the versatile player has done everything in New Orleans, from running the ball to returning kicks.

Per Spotrac, Hill signed a four-year $40 million extension in November 2021. As Klis notes, trading him to the Broncos would be tricky if Denver decides to pursue him.

“Of the $10 million Hill is scheduled to make in 2024, $1.5 million becomes guaranteed on March 15. So the Saints will have to make a decision on whether to keep him by then,” Klis wrote.

Denver will likely be on a budget crunch with the expected release of Russell Wilson this offseason. Klis says the Broncos could have “$35.4 million or – gulp! – $85 million in dead cap money.”

Taysom Hill Became Dynamic Playmaker Under Sean Payton’s Guidance

Although Hill never made a Pro Bowl with the Saints, his versatility meant everything to the offense.

During Hill’s five seasons under Payton, he accumulated 1,571 all-purpose yards, including 16 rushing touchdowns and seven receiving scores. The BYU product recorded career-highs with six receiving touchdowns in 2019 and eight scores on the ground in 2020.

The dynamic playmaker also had a career-high 348 yards on kick returns during the 2018 season.

Hill also made nine starts as a quarterback from 2020-21, going a combined 7-2 with eight touchdowns to seven interceptions.

Should Hill reunite with Payton in the offseason, the Broncos’ offense would become must-watch television.

Sean Payton Understands Red Zone Offense Must Improve in His 2nd Year in Denver

If the Broncos intend to end its eight-year playoff drought, the offense must put points on the board.

Payton understands the challenge ahead as he lamented missed red zone scoring opportunities in 2023.

“Our tight red zone was awful,” Payton told local media during his season-ending press conference on January 9. “I have to look closely at my sequencing and what I’m doing and calling,” Payton said. “What I mean by that is goal-to-go. Our red zone numbers are past the 20. How many touchdowns, percentages, etc. … Our opportunities, I think, were decent. I think we were [50.9%] and that measured [20th]. Inside the 10, first and goal-to-go, that wasn’t good enough.”

Denver struggled mightily in goal-to-go situations or a first down from the 10-yard line or closer. According to ESPN, the Broncos were 30th in those situations, scoring touchdowns on 53.3% of its trips.

For reference, that mark was better than only the New York Jets (50%) and the Atlanta Falcons (48.2%).

Fortunately, Payton and the coaching staff have an entire offseason to determine what went wrong on that part of the field.

Read More