Josh Hill

Saints TE Josh Hill Sustains Concussion

In the first quarter of the NFC Championship game, Saints tight end Josh Hill sustained a concussion. He is out for the remainder of the game, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times tweets

It’s a big loss for the Saints, who are already without starting tight end Ben Watson, who is dealing with appendicitis. Should they pull out the win, the team could be down its top two tight ends for the Super Bowl in two weeks, depending on how both recover from their ailments.

Hill played a large role early in the game for the Saints, pulling in one reception for 24 yards on the Saints’ first-half touchdown drive. He also sustained the injury on the play.

New Orleans didn’t skip a beat following the injury, as recently signed tight end Garrett Griffin capped the drive with his first career reception — a 5-yard touchdown. Without Hill and Watson, rookie tight end Dan Arnold will also see more action.

The sixth-year tight end tied his career high with 16 receptions during the regular season. The reception on the injury marked his fourth grab of this postseason.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Sign TE Josh Hill To Extension

The Saints are the number one seed in the NFC, and they just doled out a contract extension while they wait to see who they’ll play in the divisional round of the playoffs. New Orleans is signing tight end Josh Hill to a three year extension worth $8.85MM, sources told Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

While Hill isn’t a household name and doesn’t catch a ton of passes, he plays a big role in the Saints’ offense as a blocker. He’s played a tick over 62% of the offensive snaps this year, and also has the most receiving yards of his career. In the regular season he put up 16 catches for 185 yards and a touchdown, also matching his career high in receptions.

Hill just wrapped up his sixth year in the league, all with the Saints. The Idaho State product signed with New Orleans as an undrafted free agent back in 2013. The Saints clearly think very highly of him as they already matched an offer sheet for him when the Bears signed him as a restricted free agent in 2015, and $8.85MM is a lot of money for a blocking tight end. With Ben Watson set to retire after the season, it’s possible Hill will have an even bigger role as a receiver next year.

 

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/9/2016

Today’s minor moves:

  • Having already signaled that he would start this weekend, the Browns announced that they’ve officially activated quarterback Robert Griffin III from injured reserve and waived offensive lineman Matt McCants.
  • As expected, the Saints have officially placed tight end Josh Hill on injured reserve, according to Joel Erickson of the Advocate (Twitter link). The move will clear a roster spot for recently-signed linebacker Travis Feeney.
  • The Seahawks have waived linebacker Jordan Tripp from injured reserve with an injury settlement, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets. Seattle had just placed Tripp, who appeared in seven games this year (one start), on IR last week to make room for fellow linebacker Mike Morgan.
  • The Panthers announced that they’ve signed linebacker Ben Jacobs, who takes the roster spot vacated by cornerback Robert McClain this morning. Jacobs, 28, has experience with Carolina, as he appeared in 32 games with the club over from 2014-15, acting as a special teamer.

Saints TE Josh Hill Done For Year?

Saints tight end Josh Hill has a broken fibula, according to a source who spoke with Nick Underhill of The Advocate (Twitter links). Hill also has an ankle injury, though it is thought to be a high sprain and not a fracture. There is no word yet on Hill’s timetable for recovery, but it stands to reason that he will be placed on IR and shut down for the year. Josh Hill

Hill is technically listed as the No. 2 tight end on the Saints’ depth chart behind Coby Fleener, but he is a vital part of the team. This offseason, the Bears tried to swoop in on the restricted free agent by offering him a three-year, $7.5MM deal with $3.25MM in guaranteed money. Within to the week, the Saints matched the offer sheet and retained him.

In his four years with the Saints, Hill has averaged just 13 receptions per season. He may not move the needle in the passing game, but the Saints lean on him for his blocking ability.

The Saints are 5-7, behind the Falcons and Buccaneers (both 7-5) in the NFC South.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Hill, Anger, Washington, Wheeler

Let’s round up several of the latest details on contracts that have been agreed upon or signed within the last week or two….

  • Josh Hill, TE (Saints): Matched Bears’ offer sheet. Three years, $7.051MM. $2.5MM signing bonus. No-trade clause for 2016 and 2017. $100K annual Pro Bowl incentive. $200K in per-game roster bonuses for 2017 and 2018. $750K escalator for 2018 for receptions and yards (link via Nick Underhill of The Advocate).
  • Bryan Anger, P (Buccaneers): One year, $1.75MM. $750K roster bonus (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Jeremy Kerley, WR (Lions): One-year, $760K base salary. $50K signing bonus. $40K workout bonus. $300K possible through incentives (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
  • Darrin Walls, CB (Lions): One-year, minimum salary benefit. $80K signing bonus guaranteed. Rest of deal non-guaranteed (Twitter link via Birkett).
  • Nate Washington, WR (Patriots): One year, minimum salary benefit. $478K split salary. $60K signing bonus. $20K workout bonus (Twitter link via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe).
  • Philip Wheeler, LB (Falcons): One year, minimum salary benefit (Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com).

Saints Match Bears’ Offer Sheet For Josh Hill

MONDAY, 10:39am: Ian Rapoport of NFL.com provides some specific details on Hill’s new contract, tweeting that it’s worth $7.1MM over three years, with a max value of $8.15MM via incentives. As noted below, it includes $3.25MM in guarantees.

FRIDAY, 3:13pm: The Saints have officially retained tight end Josh Hill, exercising their right of first refusal and matching the offer sheet he signed with the Bears on Tuesday, the team announced today (via Twitter). New Orleans will bring back Hill on the terms of that deal he signed with Chicago.Josh Hill

ESPN’s Mike Triplett and Adam Caplan provided several details on Hill’s offer sheet from the Bears earlier this week, reporting that the three-year deal can be worth up to $7.5MM, and features $3.25MM in guaranteed money.

Hill had already counted for $1.671MM on the Saints’ books for 2016, so if the first-year cap hit on his new deal is higher than that – as it almost certainly will be – it’s another contract New Orleans will have to squeeze under its cap. Having also confirmed a three-year deal for linebacker Craig Robertson, the team figures to announce a corresponding release or contract restructure soon, in order to create cap room for the new additions.

Hill, 25, is coming off a career-high 16-catch season, though he averaged just 7.5 yards per reception. The three-year veteran set personal marks in yards (176), YPC (12.5) and touchdowns (five) during a 14-catch showing in 2014. Prior to signing with the Bears, whom he met with Monday, Hill visited the Jets last week.

By bringing back Hill, the Saints have now signed three tight ends to new contracts this month — Coby Fleener inked a five-year deal to replace Ben Watson as the team’s No. 1 tight end, and Michael Hoomanawanui agreed to a three-year pact to return to New Orleans. Hill will join that duo to create plenty of pass-catching and blocking options for the Saints’ offense.

As for the Bears, they still have Zach Miller and Rob Housler among their tight end options, but the team may look to fortify the position in free agency and/or the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Rumors: Hill, Brees, Payton, Hightower

Earlier this morning, Sean Payton broke some big news when he announced that he has signed a brand-new five-year contract through the 2020 season with the Saints. Payton’s contract has been a priority for New Orleans this offseason and they had plenty of motivation to get a deal done with several teams reportedly eyeing the 52-year-old coach.

Here’s more on the Saints:

  • It’s not out the question that Josh Hill returns after the tight end inked the Bears’ offer sheet, the coach told reporters (including Larry Holder of The Times-Picayune). Payton and GM Mickey Loomis will discuss Hill further today.
  • Payton said the ongoing Drew Brees extension talks are discussed in some form daily, Holder tweets. Brees, 37, is entering the final year of a five-year, $100MM deal he signed in 2012. Earlier this week, the QB said that he’s unsure of the timetable for a deal getting done and that he’s not positive that a deal will get done at all.
  • Payton said the Saints paid close attention to the guard market but things did not pan out, Holder tweets. Before the start of free agency, Payton did not anticipate signing a tight end (link via Holder). Overall, he looked more at offensive guards and defensive players. On March 9th, the Saints agreed to sign former Colts tight end Coby Fleener.
  • Heading into the draft, Payton says that he sees defensive end and three-technique defensive tackle as “musts,” (Twitter link via Holder). Payton added safety to the list of high-priority needs, as Mike Triplett of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The coach said there is absolutely a possibility that running back Tim Hightower will return to the team (link via Holder). Hightower started three games for the Saints last year after being years removed from the NFL.

Bears Sign TE Josh Hill To Offer Sheet

WEDNESDAY, 6:58am: ESPN’s Mike Triplett and Adam Caplan provide a few more details on Hill’s offer sheet from the Bears, reporting that the three-year deal can be worth up to $7.5MM, and features $3.25MM in guaranteed money.

TUESDAY, 4:38pm: Hill’s offer sheet is worth in the neighborhood of $2MM annually, per Biggs, who notes that the Saints have less than $1.3MM in cap space (Twitter link).

4:01pm: The Bears have signed restricted free agent tight end Josh Hill to an offer sheet, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter links). According to Biggs, Hill got a three-year deal, which New Orleans will have five days to match. Because Josh Hillthe Saints assigned Hill a low-end RFA tender, they won’t receive any compensation if they decide not to match Chicago’s offer.

Hill, 25, is coming off a career-high 16-catch season, though he averaged just 7.5 yards per reception. The three-year veteran set personal marks in yards (176), YPC (12.5) and touchdowns (five) during a 14-catch showing in 2014. Prior to signing with the Bears, whom he met with Monday, Hill visited the Jets last week.

The Bears have a No. 1 tight end in Zach Miller, but they may have created a need in the top two last week when they traded Martellus Bennett to the Patriots. Rob Housler is currently the top reserve behind Miller, though adding Hill could put his spot in jeopardy. The Saints, meanwhile, signed ex-Colt Coby Fleener to a five-year, $36MM deal when free agency opened and have Michael Hoomanawanui as a backup.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Rumors: J. Jones, A. Smith, Dansby, Randle

The Packers have informed Frank Bauer, the agent for wide receiver James Jones, that they don’t currently have interest in re-signing Jones, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “They’re going to go with the young guys,” Bauer said. Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis, and Jared Abbrederis are expected to complement top targets Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in Green Bay.

Here are a few more free agent updates from across the NFL:

  • Asked about outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who will be suspended until at least mid-November, Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie tells Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com that “conversations have been good.” Oakland – or another team – could sign Smith immediately, but McKenzie and the Raiders are more likely to be patient to ensure that the veteran pass rusher continues to make good off-field decisions.
  • Following his release last week, veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby suggested that he wouldn’t mind heading to Arizona, Cincinnati, or Green Bay. However, Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910 in Arizona (Twitter link) hears that the Cardinals haven’t reached out to Dansby. The division-rival Seahawks have shown some interest though.
  • After paying a visit to the Jets last week, Saints RFA tight end Josh Hill is meeting with the Bears today, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). New Orleans would have the opportunity to match any offer sheet Hill signs with another team.
  • Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (Twitter link) hears that the Rams are unlikely to add wide receiver Rueben Randle to their roster, despite hosting him for a visit earlier in March.
  • Before he signed with the Broncos, free agent tackle Russell Okung drew interest from other teams on a traditional multiyear deal, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. Okung was seeking $10-11MM per year though, which was too rich for clubs, given his injury history, says Pelissero.

Free Agent Rumors: Fairley, Saints, Jets, Hill, Neal

Here are the latest free agent rumors:

  • Free agent defensive tackle Nick Fairley, one of the more notable defenders still available, has been spotted in New Orleans, where he’s paying a visit to the Saints, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). The Saints were one of three potential suitors for Fairley mentioned in a report earlier this week, along with the Eagles and Jets.
  • Saints restricted free agent Josh Hill visited the Jets today, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Hill was given the low-round tender by the Saints this offseason, so New Orleans has first right of refusal with regards over him.
  • Linebacker Mike Neal has visited the Seahawks and Lions, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Packers’ 2010 second-round pick started 15 games last season and, as of one week ago, Green Bay was still considering a reunion.
  • The Bears are not done exploring the tight end market after re-signing Zach Miller on Monday, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets.
  • The Jaguars worked out CFL offensive lineman Xavier Fulton today, a source tells Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (Twitter link). Fulton, who was a fifth-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft, has spent the last few seasons playing left tackle for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.