New Orleans Saints have not had any discussions about trading for New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler “for quite some time,” general manager Mickey Loomis said on Wednesday.
However, Loomis didn’t completely rule out the idea. When asked whether Butler is still an option, Loomis said, “I don’t know that yet.”
But he added, “Look, he’s their player. So we’ll see how that evolves.”
It’s unclear what stalled the potential deal, which seemed almost imminent a few weeks ago. But those talks have cooled by all indications. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that a deal was “highly unlikely.” And Saints coach Sean Payton said Tuesday that there is “nothing new.”
“Look, he’s with New England, and I don’t think anything’s changed. I don’t see anything being imminent,” Payton said.
One possible reason the interest in Butler has died down: Payton said he believes this is the deepest defensive draft class he has seen since he became a head coach in 2006.
Among other highlights from Loomis’ pre-draft news conference on Wednesday, he said he doesn’t know whether the Adrian Peterson signing will prevent New Orleans from drafting a running back, saying he believes there are “a lot of good running backs in this class.” But he said, “obviously all things being equal, we’d probably be less inclined to draft a running back.”
Loomis echoed what Payton and Mark Ingram said Tuesday about being confident there is enough room for both Ingram and Peterson in the Saints’ backfield.
“Look, we’ve always had multiple backs. You need multiple backs, and we’ve always used all the backs on our roster,” Loomis said. “So I think he and Mark will complement each other. We’ll see how that evolves, but we’re excited.”
Loomis was also asked about third-year receiver Willie Snead, who remains unsigned as an exclusive rights free agent. But he is not eligible to sign with any other team, and he has been participating in New Orleans’ offseason workout program.
Loomis said he doesn’t know whether a long-term deal will happen this offseason but said, “I don’t anticipate any issues with Willie going forward.
“I’m excited he’s here,” Loomis said. “I expect him to be on our team for a long time.”