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Sean Payton details hosting Malcolm Butler for visit this offseason, how close Patriots-Saints were to trade

Ryan Hannable
September 13, 2017 - 10:32 am

FOXBORO -- One of the biggest stories this offseason with the Patriots was whether or not Malcolm Butler would be a member of the team in 2017.

The cornerback was upset with the team signing Stephon Gilmore to a megadeal as a free agent, as he was a restricted free agent making $3.91 million this season. Butler even took a visit to New Orleans and some thought the two teams would work out a deal to send Butler to New Orleans, but in the end a deal was not reached and the 27-year-old is still with the Patriots.

New England and New Orleans will meet this week, and speaking on a conference call Wednesday Sean Payton detailed what the visit was like with Butler.

“It’s a short visit," Payton said. "You try and get as much background as you can on a player. Get an idea of their personality and how they would fit in, what kind of teammate they’d be. You try and spend as much time as you can getting to know the player and how he learns. Regionally, his family is from down around this area, so there were a few things we had a chance to visit about, aside from football. I think mainly it is kind of getting an idea of what kind of teammate the player is and what are his strengths and weaknesses just from a mental standpoint.”

So how close was a deal to being made? It doesn't sound like one ever got to the final stages.

“Listen, you never know for sure," Payton said. "You kind of just do your homework like Bill [Belichick] does and then you communicate and you go from there. That’s really it. I think that both teams are trying to help themselves and look closely at the options and ended up with just the one trade.”

That one trade was the Saints sending Brandin Cooks to the Patriots in exchange for their first-round pick.

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