Saints won't give CB Malcolm Butler offer sheet

Credit Derick E. Hingle USA TODAY Sports        Sean Payton has coached the Saints since 2006

On another topic, Payton said the Saints will not sign New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler to an offer sheet in restricted free agency.

"Currently it's my understanding that he hasn't signed his tender", Payton said on Wednesday, via NFL.com. "So now I'm sitting here answering 15 questions over a reporter's report".

"I think a little bit of last season, after [the Rams] game, his agent, you know, was a little disappointed, if you will". "He's got good feet; he can create". "I met with (Manziel) down in Houston; I had not met with him during the evaluation process". I think he's got decent arm strength; I think he's got a lot of work to do with some of the mechanics, protection-wise in our league.

According to ESPN's Mike Triplett, Payton said that the Cooks trade was not a situation where "we felt like we've gotta make this trade or else". "We didn't visit very long".

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"I watched his season take place being in Dallas at the time and watched, really, the team catch fire and all the things he did at A&M, and of course, I've followed his career".

The Patriots have already engaged with the Saints in a notable off-season move, trading the 32nd overall pick in the 2017 draft for New Orleans wide receiver Brandin Cooks. "So for us, it was a chance to meet him, put him on the board, find out how much football he knows", Payton said, also pointing out that Butler is from nearby Mississippi.

The deadline for teams to sign restricted free agents to an offer sheet is April 21. Players can't be traded unless they are under contract, which is why the timing of Butler signing the tender is important. But if he signs the tender before the draft, when teams are more apt to wheel and deal, it opens the possibility that he could be part of a draft-day trade if the Patriots and Saints - who have struck eight trades between them in the Bill Belichick era - can agree on compensation. "We can sign him to an offer sheet, but I don't think we're going to do that and give up the 11th pick".

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