The Saints’ tight end group will boast a new look next season. With Jared Cook likely to depart as a free agent, the Saints also made the move Wednesday to cut veteran Josh Hill, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
Still more than $60MM over the projected 2021 salary cap, the Saints will save $2.5MM by jettisoning Hill. One season remained on Hill’s deal. This move comes after the Saints adjusted David Onyemata‘s contract to create $4MM-plus in cap space.
Hill has been with the Saints for eight seasons, having only played in New Orleans as a pro. The Saints gave him a three-year, $8.85MM extension late in the 2018 season. New Orleans then signed Cook in 2019. His contract included a 2021 void year, pointing the veteran elsewhere after a two-year Saints stay.
The Saints continually brought in veteran receiving tight ends — from Coby Fleener to Ben Watson to Cook — while keeping Hill, who began his career when Jimmy Graham was still with the Saints. While Hill did not factor in much as a pass catcher last season, he remained a high-end run blocker. Pro Football Focus graded Hill as its No. 4 overall run-blocking tight end in 2020.
Hill, who will turn 31 in May, played in 117 Saints games and started 61 of those. Barring a reunion down the line, Hill will finish with 116 catches, 1,017 yards and 15 TDs as a Saint.