30 March, 2017
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 previous year.
Instead, Payton said that - if a deal were to happen - it would be a trade. Butler, a restricted free agent, met with Payton from March 15-16 to get a feel for the organization and negotiate a contract, but the two sides have been in a holding pattern since that point. "I was out in Houston for three days for the Super Bowl, and I understand he was".
The New Orleans Saints have been courting New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler for weeks, but it's not a sure thing that Butler will come to New Orleans. Currently, it's my understanding he hasn't signed his tender, so it was just that. Payton said he basically never wants to leave any stone unturned, and that includes meeting up with the troubled Manziel. "I'm not saying that's what we're doing, but I think if it happens, there's some steps that he's going to have to take also that - just with the league - to be in a position to play".
If he waits until after the draft (April 27-29), one would think that increases the chances he's playing for the Patriots in 2017.More news: Netherlands head coach Danny Blind fired
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. "So, it was a breakfast that was really a chance to get the know the player".
Payton laments the NFL's recent decision not to add more cameras in stadiums to enhance replay, an idea initially brought up by the Patriots.
The tender is for $3.91 million and Butler can't be dealt by New England if he doesn't sign it.
"I think that is a little different (than visiting with Butler)", Payton said. He was the only QB to play for them last season. "I think it will generally be a clean, quiet no track record -probably a tryout-type of opportunity".