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.
CSN New England's Mike Giardi reports the "parameters of [a] deal" between restricted free agent Malcolm Butler and the Saints are "mostly in place."
Giardi adds the two sides are still "quibbling" over guaranteed money, but it sounds like the Saints and Butler will be able to work out a deal. The problem is Ian Rapoport reports the Patriots will not discuss a potential trade until Butler signs his first-round tender, and the Saints are not going to sign him to an offer sheet which would cost them the No. 11 overall pick. While it remains likely Butler ends up in New Orleans, there are still several hurdles to clear.
ESPN's Dan Graziano reports free agent ILB Manti Te'o is "close" to a deal with the Saints.
Te'o has drawn zero interest in free agency, with New Orleans his only reported visit. Recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon, Te'o won't be gifted a starting job if he lands with the Saints. He'll have to earn it.
The Saints are hosting free agent QB Chase Daniel on Sunday.
Current Drew Brees backup Luke McCown is getting over the hill, and former third-rounder Garrett Grayson hasn't amounted to much. Daniel spent the first four years of his career with the Saints. 30-year-old Daniel is essentially a homeless man's Brees as a short quarterback whose theoretical strength is accuracy.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports the Saints and Patriots restricted free agent CB Malcolm Butler have mutual interest in working out a trade and extension following Thursday's visit.
Per Rapsheet, the visit "went well." CSN New England reported two days ago that Butler had "warmed up" to the idea of playing in New Orleans. If the sides can agree to the parameters of a long-term deal, the Pats and Saints should be able to work out trade compensation.
According to CSN New England's Michael Giardi, restricted free agent Malcolm Butler has "very much warmed up to the idea" of playing for the Saints.
Butler is open to playing closer to home. He grew up in Vicksburg, Miss. and played his college ball at West Alabama. In addition to the default hometown Saints, the Texans have also reportedly shown interest in Butler, possibly as an A.J. Bouye replacement. Neither team is likely open to giving up their first-round pick for Butler, though it's possible the Saints could be willing to flip back the Patriots' original first-rounder (No. 32) they got for Brandin Cooks.
The Houston Chronicle reports free agent RB Travaris Cadet is "weighing offers" from the Saints, Bills and Jets.
Throwing out a lost 2015, Cadet has 78 combined receptions over his past two seasons. He's also a solid special teamer. He's long been a favorite of coach Sean Payton, and could stick in New Orleans.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports restricted free agent CB Malcolm Butler and the Saints have opened contract negotiations.
Rapoport adds the two sides "hope to strike a deal this week." There are not many other reasons for Butler to visit the Saints except to work on a deal, but this is notable nevertheless. The Saints would owe New England the No. 11 overall pick if the Patriots decline to match an offer sheet, but that is likely more than they are willing to pay. The two sides will likely try to work out a trade.
According to PFT's Mike Florio, the Titans offered to swap first-round picks -- No. 5 for No. 11 -- and a third-round pick to the Saints in exchange for Brandin Cooks.
Appearing on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville on Monday, Titans GM Jon Robinson revealed he never offered the No. 18 pick for Cooks, the second of two first-rounders the Titans own. The No. 5 selection is via the Rams. If Tennessee truly offered a swap of first-rounders that high in the draft in addition to a three, it's surprising New Orleans didn't bite at that proposal over the Patriots' No. 32 pick and a third it ultimately accepted in exchange for Cooks last Friday. This would indicate the Titans remain in the market for a playmaking outside receiver.
PFT's Mike Florio reports the Eagles offered the Saints a package of FS Malcolm Jenkins, a third-round pick, and a fourth-round pick in exchange for Brandin Cooks.
The Saints apparently wanted a second-round pick and Jenkins, a price the Eagles obviously balked at since Cooks was later dealt to the Patriots. Jenkins, 29, started his career with the Saints as the No. 14 overall pick in 2009 before signing with the Eagles in 2014. He's become one of the top safeties in the league, grading out well in coverage and providing strong run support. Jenkins is under contract through 2020 after signing a big extension in February 2016.
Broncos signed DE Kasim Edebali, formerly of the Saints, to a one-year contract.
Edebali recorded five sacks in a limited role in 2015, but he took a step back last year. He will likely serve as a situational rusher.
Free agent OLB Alex Okafor is visiting the Saints Monday.
A fourth-round pick in 2013, Okafor has just 5.5 sacks combined the last two seasons, but he took down the quarterback eight times in 13 games in 2014. He would be a low-cost, upside signing for a defense which needs pass rushers.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Patriots are still shopping Malcolm Butler.
Bulter wasn't part of New England's package for Brandin Cooks, but the Saints "could consider a trade later on." The Patriots seem ware of extending Butler after signing Stephon Gilmore. A restricted free agent, Butler is set to make just $3.91 million in the final year of his contract.
Patriots acquired WR Brandin Cooks and a 2017 fourth-round pick from the Saints in exchange for 2017 first- and third-round picks.
The Saints promised Cooks would be gone by the end of the day, and they were true to their word. Rumors had New England looking to land Cooks for top corner Malcolm Butler, but he's staying put. The Patriots are giving up some premium draft picks, but this is a big get. Cooks is coming off his second straight 1,000-yard season and gives the Patriots another weapon alongside Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell. New England has been the winner of free agency so far, reeling in Stephon Gilmore and now Cooks while retaining Alan Branch and Duron Harmon. Back in New Orleans, Michael Thomas and Willie Snead are both looking at a big boost in fantasy production.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports free agent ILB Manti Te'o will visit the Saints on Thursday.
The Chargers seem to have little interest in a reunion. Te'o, who's been a replacement-level player at best, will have to prove he's over his Achilles' injury before landing a contract.
ESPN's Dianna Russini reports the Patriots "are considering" a trade which would send CB Malcolm Butler to New Orleans in exchange for Brandin Cooks.
New England reportedly tried to land Cooks earlier this month, but their package including a first-round pick was rebuffed. Butler will not cost New England much this year after they placed a first-round tender on him, but he will land a massive deal as an unrestricted free agent next spring. Trading him now would fit the Patriots' recent modus operandi of trading walk-year players rather than giving them big deals. Throw in the fact New England just gave $14 million a year to Stephon Gilmore, and there are plenty of reasons to give this report credence.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune's Herbie Teope reports the Saints are interested in free agent RG Kevin Zeitler.
Much like RT Rick Wagner did with the right-tackle market on Wednesday, Zeitler is expected to reset the right-guard market on Thursday. He's fully expected to land $10 million-plus annually, and plenty of teams have interest, including the Browns, Jaguars, and Colts. Zeitler would be a much younger upgrade on longtime Saints RG Jahri Evans, 33, who is also a free agent.
Saints released FS Jairus Byrd.
The move will officially take place of the first day of the league year, March 9, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Signed to a massive six-year, $54 million contract in 2014, which at the time made Byrd the league's highest-paid safety, Byrd missed 15 games his first two seasons in New Orleans and then was benched in 2016. There's no other way to put it than to say Byrd was a colossal bust. The Saints will designate Byrd as a post-June 1 cut, which would save $7.8 million in cap space in 2017. Byrd turns 31 this year.
Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune believes the Saints "have to take a look" at impending free agent LG Ronald Leary.
The Saints may need to address right guard with Jahri Evans headed for free agency. With Dallas committed to La'El Collins at left guard, Leary will likely be looking for a new team. Leary played well for the Cowboys last year and won't cost as much as T.J. Lang or Kevin Zeitler. Leary turns 28 in April.
Jimmy Garoppolo's agent, Donald Yee, represents Saints coach Sean Payton, with whom Bears GM Ryan Pace worked for ten years in New Orleans.
There are all kinds of connections to be made like this around the NFL, but Pace's connections to Garoppolo especially stand out. Payton and Pace's Saints were rumored to be infatuated with Garoppolo in the 2014 draft and allegedly considered taking him toward the end of the first round. Payton, Pace, and Garoppolo are all alums of Eastern Illinois. Per CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, "Yee knows well just how much Payton and Pace valued Garoppolo in the (2014) draft," and "putting a deal together between those two wouldn’t be difficult."