Bears sign tight end Josh Hill to offer sheet; Saints have five days to match _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- New Orleans Saints tight end Josh Hill (89) celebrates a touchdown catch against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Saints tendered offers to tight end Josh Hill and guard Tim Lelito, which should make it difficult for either player to leave town.

The tenders are at the lowest level of $1.67 million. This means New Orleans could match any offer Hill or Lelito receives from another team. The Saints will not receive compensation if they sign elsewhere.

Both players would have been free to sign with another team they were not tendered an offer by Wednesday afternoon.

Hill was expected to step up and help fill the void created after Jimmy Graham was traded to the Seattle Seahawks last offseason, but Ben Watson, who signed with Baltimore on Wednesday, broke out and had a career year. New Orleans has since signed former indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener to help fill the void.

The 25-year-old Hill finished the year with 16 catches for 120 yards with two touchdowns. He finished 2014 with 14 catches for 176 yards with five touchdowns.

Lelito, who made 13 starts for the Saints last season at left guard, can still be pursued by other teams in free agency, but New Orleans has the right of first refusal, meaning the Saints can match any offer from another team.

Bringing back Lelito solidifies an offensive line that took a hit when the Saints decided to release longtime stalwart Jahri Evans in February. Now, with Lelito protected, the Saints have a good chance to bring back six of the seven offensive linemen who made starts for the team in 2015.

Lelito battled a back injury at times, but the up-and-coming guard also played 951 snaps for the Saints offense, third-most on the team behind center Max Unger and right tackle Zach Strief.

Forbath back

The Saints re-signed kicker Kai Forbath to a one-year deal on Wednesday, making good on an intention to bring back the veteran after he finished out the season last year.

Forbath will compete with fellow veteran kicker Josh Scobee, who signed with the Saints last week, for the job throughout the offseason.

“Blessed to be a part of the Saints for another year! #WHODAT” Forbath tweeted.

Forbath, the former Washington kicker who was picked up by the Saints after Zach Hocker failed to solidify the job, finished 9-of-13 on field goals last season, including two blocked kicks, including one that would have beaten the Tennessee Titans.

But Forbath also made two game-winning kicks against the New York Giants and the Atlanta Falcons, and he drilled a career-long 57-yarder against Houston.

For his career, Forbath has made 84.1 percent of his field goals, and he’d no longer have to handle kickoffs now that punter Thomas Morstead is healthy again.

Hooman details

Michael Hoomanawanui’s deal is worth three years, $5.1 million, according to a source. The deal comes with a $1 million signing bonus.

His $850,000 salary in 2016 is fully guaranteed. The deal carries base salaries of $1.35 million in each of the final two seasons.

The total guarantees are $1.85 million.

Hoomanawanui can earn workout bonuses of $50,000 in each of the three seasons. He will receive roster bonuses of $200,000 on the fifth day of the league year in 2016 and 2017.

Wilson details

Kyle Wilson will not count much against the salary cap.

The defensive back signed a one-year deal with the Saints that carries a base salary of $765,000 and a signing bonus of $80,000, according to a source. The signing bonus is the only guaranteed portion of the contract.

The deal qualifies for the veteran minimum benefit, which means his cap figure will be $680,000.

Players qualify for the veteran minimum benefit when they have four or more years of experience, sign for the minimum and do not have bonus money that exceeds $80,000.