It doesn't look as though the New Orleans Saints are going to sign New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler to an offer sheet.

Says who?

Now, just because the Saints don't sign Butler to an offer sheet doesn't mean he won't play for the Saints next year.

The two teams could always work out a sign-and-trade deal, in which Butler signs with the Patriots, and then is traded to the Saints.

Still, while it seemed as though there was a very good chance just a couple of weeks ago that Butler would be anchoring the Saints' secondary next season, now things aren't as certain.

The 27-year old Butler is a restricted free agent, meaning that the Patriots would have an opportunity to match any offer that he would agree to with any other team.

If the Patriots would fail to match the offer, the team that signs Butler would owe them a first round draft choice.

Of course, the Saints currently have two first round draft choices for the 2017 NFL Draft, after acquiring the 32nd overall pick from the Patriots, in exchange for receiver Brandin Cooks, but Payton says the Saints are unwilling to give up the 11th-overall pick, they're own top pick, for Butler.

A native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, Butler played his college football at West Alabama, before signing with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent following the 2014 NFL Draft.

In three NFL seasons, all with New England, Butler has appeared in 43 games, including 33 as a starter, accumulating 122 tackles and 6 interceptions.

A second-team All-Pro selection last season, Butler compiled 63 tackles, four interceptions, a sack, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and 16 passes defensed.