According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, earlier this month the Saints were willing to offer the Rams a second-round pick for CB Trumaine Johnson, but Johnson was unwilling to sign long-term in New Orleans.
Johnson was unwilling to sign with the Saints because he "so badly wanted to remain in Los Angeles" and work things out with the Rams, who also, as Schefter notes, weren't as motivated to move Johnson as the media made it sound in March. Johnson is going to ask for the moon from the Rams in any long-term talks since they've franchised him twice in two years. The Saints nabbed CB Marshon Lattimore at pick No. 11 on Thursday and could look at more corners Friday.
Speaking on Friday, Saints coach Sean Payton refused to rule out a trade for Patriots CB Malcolm Butler or Rams CB Trumaine Johnson.
This comes less than 24 hours after the Saints used their No. 11 pick on Marshon Lattimore. Acquiring Butler seemed inevitable for New Orleans at one point, but talks have broken down and Butler hurt his chances of being traded by waiting too long to sign his restricted free agent tender. If the Saints were going to land a top-flight corner via trade, it would have happened by now.
According to ESPN's Mike Triplett, quarterback is "in play" for the Saints on Day 2 of the draft.
While Triplett would like to see New Orleans land Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs if he falls to the third round, Miami’s Brad Kaaya, Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, Pittsburgh’s Nathan Peterman and Cal’s Davis Webb will all be options to consider at No. 42. The Packers are reportedly interested in Kizer at No. 33, but that could be a smokescreen. The Saints are probably wise to start thinking about life after Drew Brees.
Saints GM Mickey Loomis said there hasn't been "any discussion for quite some time" on trading for Malcolm Butler.
The Saints haven't ruled out a Butler deal, but this falls in line with reports it's highly unlikely. With one of the deeper drafts for corners, the Saints are "leaning toward" keeping both their first round picks. Barring a late trade, Butler should play out the final year of his Patriots contract.
Packers signed RG Jahri Evans, formerly of the Saints.
The Packers have a gaping hole at right guard after losing T.J. Lang. Don Barclay was penciled in, but he's been brutal in past starting chances. Evans, 34, offers short-term security. Green Bay would be wise to draft help. Evans started all 16 games last season and made 169 career starts for New Orleans.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports the Saints are "closing in" on a deal with free agent Adrian Peterson.
Per Rapsheet, the deal would pay Peterson $3 million "plus." It's a very strange fit on paper, but coach Sean Payton has had friction with Mark Ingram. Peterson and Ingram are redundant talents, though Ingram has become much more of a pass catcher in recent years. Peterson is a zero in the passing game, but a better goal-line finisher than Ingram. The situation would make for fantasy headaches, and an always-tedious backfield even harder to figure.
According to MMQB's Peter King, the Saints are "leaning toward" keeping their first three picks rather than trading one or more for Malcolm Butler.
The Saints hold the Nos. 11, 32, and 42 picks in the top first round-and-a-half of action this coming weekend. They also have picks 76 and 103, making that five selections in the first two days of the draft. The thinking has been that New Orleans would part with No. 32 to land Butler, but King reports the Saints value the top-75 of their draft board and would prefer to use those picks rather than surrender one or more for Butler and then have to sign him to a massive deal.
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, if the Patriots trade Malcolm Butler to the Saints, "this is the week for it to happen."
Reiss believes it will come down to whether the Saints are willing to trade the No. 32 overall pick (which they received from the Patriots in last month's Brandin Cooks trade) or No. 42 and another pick with New England throwing in a late-rounder. Per Reiss, the Patriots "don't have any qualms" in keeping Butler around at his $3.91 million salary. Butler was a second-team All-Pro selection in 2016 and graded out as PFF's No. 5 corner out of 119 qualifiers.
According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, the Patriots and Saints continue to haggle over compensation in a potential Malcolm Butler trade.
The Saints hold the Nos. 11 and 32 picks in the first round, with the second first-rounder via the Patriots in the Brandin Cooks trade. New Orleans is desperate for defensive back help and would love to have Butler, but this draft is considered strong for cornerbacks, and the Saints may simply opt to use the picks on younger cover men rather than buckling at the Patriots' demands.
Saints coach Sean Payton heaped praise on Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey.
"I’ve got a crystal-clear vision of the player," Payton told MMQB's Peter King in a recent interview. "He’d be like Darren Sproles, Reggie Bush for us, kind of the Joker role." The Saints are looking for a back to complement Mark Ingram and the versatile McCaffrey could certainly fill that role. New Orleans also has interest in LSU's Leonard Fournette, who visited the team on Friday. McCaffrey won't be in play at No. 11 but the Saints could consider him at 32nd overall.
According to Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate, free agent Adrian Peterson's visit with the Saints "went well" and the "door isn't closed" on him signing a contract.
As opposed to the Patriots, who were reportedly doing Peterson's agent a favor by working him out last week, the Saints seem to be legitimately interested in signing the former MVP. Likely, it will come down to money. Underhill believes the Saints are reluctant to offer Peterson more or even match the $3.7 million salary Mark Ingram is due in 2017. If Peterson does land with New Orleans, he would likely be used in a timeshare with more-versatile Ingram.
MMQB's Albert Breer believes it's "more likely" restricted free agent Malcolm Butler plays for the Saints this season than the Patriots.
The Saints aren't going to sign Butler to an offer sheet and willingly part with their early first-round pick, but Breer ultimately expects Butler to sign his tender with the Patriots, which will then put in motion a potential trade in the week leading up to the draft. If Butler ends up with New Orleans, it's possible the Patriots then turn their attention to acquiring disgruntled Richard Sherman.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports free agent Adrian Peterson will visit the Saints.
The visit will take place next week. Thus far, Peterson has visited the Seahawks and Patriots. The Seahawks aren't an option with Eddie Lacy in tow, while Peterson's New England visit was reported to be a sham, as in mostly a favor for AD's agent. Peterson would be a redundant talent to Mark Ingram in New Orleans, though Ingram's relationship with coach Sean Payton hasn't always been the best. Nevertheless, it's hard to see Peterson to New Orleans happening.
Saints GM Mickey Loomis said the team "had a good visit" with Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon.
"That's really all I want to say about that at this time," Loomis added. "It's just part of the process." It does not sound like the Saints are particularly interested in bringing in the controversial back, but pairing him with Mark Ingram would give New Orleans a dynamic backfield. Mixon has also visited the Bengals, Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders with more visits scheduled this week.
Saints released QB Luke McCown.
The writing was on the wall after the Saints brought back Chase Daniel to be Drew Brees' primary backup. New Orleans could have a rookie as its No. 3 this year. McCown, 36 in July, could resurface as a clipboard-holder.
Free agent LB Michael Mauti (illness) has gained back 30 pounds since undergoing surgery to combat ulcerative colitis in November.
That puts him at 220, which is still 23 pounds below his playing weight. Mauti had a second surgery in February and will undergo a third in mid-April. After that, the 27-year-old believes he'll need about 10 weeks to get back into playing shape. The Saints have expressed interest in re-signing Mauti, who has served as a core special teamer since entering the league in 2013.
49ers signed RB Tim Hightower, formerly of the Saints.
After being out of the league for three seasons, Hightower restored his career in New Orleans, gaining 1,252 total yards and scoring nine times in two seasons. The 49ers recently re-signed DuJuan Harris, but Hightower should be the favorite to back up Carlos Hyde. Considering Hyde's injury history, that likely means Hightower will earn a few starts in 2017.
Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reports the Saints have "no interest" in free agent Johnny Manziel.
Manziel and coach Sean Payton met during Super Bowl week, but nothing came of the sit-down. The former first-round bust of the Browns has said he's re-committed himself to the sport in hopes of getting another chance, but it's hard to see a team taking the plunge, even though Manziel is still only 24.
Saints GM Mickey Loomis confirmed the team is "kicking the tires" on Patriots CB Malcolm Butler.
"We’re kicking the tires, I guess is the best way to describe that," were Loomis' exact words. "We’ll see how that process works." The "process" has been going on for at least two weeks. Butler visited New Orleans on March 14. The Pats, as usual, aren't blinking, and are waiting to extract the best-possible offer. Owner Bob Kraft said on Monday it wasn't the team's "intention" to trade Butler. A restricted free agent, Butler has yet to sign his $3.91 million tender.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports Saints coach Sean Payton and Johnny Manziel met to discuss "a return to football" during Super Bowl week.
RapSheet has also reported Manziel drew "real interest" at the Combine and is still training for a return. While this report is likely true, it does not mean the Saints will rush out to sign a marginally talented quarterback with a troubling legal history, especially considering the city they play in and Manziel's issues with substance abuse. It still does not seem likely Manziel will get another shot in the NFL.