Sean Payton Says Saints Won't Lose No. 11 NFL Draft Pick to Sign Malcolm Butler

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2017

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints looks on from the sidelines during the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on January 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C.  Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said Wednesday that the Saints won't sign New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler to an offer sheet.

According to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe, Payton cited having to give up the No. 11 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft as the reasoning behind not wanting to make Butler an offer.

The Saints have been linked to Butler for several weeks, and it was rumored that he would be part of a deal that sent wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Pats, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (via Pro Football Talk).

However, Payton noted Butler was never a part of the Cooks discussions, per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.

That deal trade didn't come to fruition, though, and New England instead acquired Cooks for the No. 32 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

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The Patriots have a first-round tender on Butler, which means any team that signs him to an offer sheet will be forced to surrender a first-round selection.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Butler's status, he visited with the Saints following the Cooks trade.

According to Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said the following with regard to interest in Butler: "We're kicking the tires, I guess, is the best way to describe that. We'll see how that process works."

Butler's future with the Patriots first came into question when New England signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a huge contract in free agency.

Although the Saints have balked at surrendering a first-round pick to sign Butler, they could still acquire him via trade should they come to terms on a deal with the Pats. 

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