Timing of Malcolm Butler signing his tender now becomes key

Sean Payton sat down with Johnny Manziel to discuss the embattled quarterback's National Football League future during Super Bowl week, but the New Orleans Saints head coach pumped the breaks Tuesday on speculation regarding a possible partnership between the two sides. If he signs an offer sheet with another team, the Patriots have an opportunity to match or let him leave (and would receive that team's first round draft pick as compensation).

Payton also addressed a meeting he had with free agent quarterback Johnny Manziel, a former first-round pick who was released by the Browns prior to the 2016 season, and did not play a year ago.

"We met for breakfast, and the first time just having the chance to talk to him", Payton said. However Payton downplayed reports that his team was considering a deal for the disgraced free agent quarterback.

The New Orleans Saints would certainly like to add cornerback Malcolm Butler to their defense, but apparently won't give the New England Patriots the No. 11 overall pick to make it happen. "I was out in Houston for three days for the Super Bowl, and I understand he was".

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Asked if the Saints would like to sign Butler if circumstances changed, Payton said, "Listen, he's a guy that we thought enough of in this process".

It's not a surprise that the Saints wouldn't fork over the No. 11 pick and hand Butler a massive contract in one swoop.

As for Manziel, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted March 1 that the former Heisman Trophy victor was "drawing real interest" from teams at the combine. "But it made sense for me just to get to know him a little bit". The Patriots have tendered him at the first-round level, for $3.91 million, but Butler hasn't signed the tender. "It was the first time I met him and we spent some time kind of going through his story". Now, kicking the tires and getting to know people, I think that's our job. "I think part of the report that insinuated that it was moving in that direction, I think that was false".

  • Tabitha Byrd