Sean Payton isn't usually one to discuss a potential signing before it happens. He went to the Bill Belichick school of public relations in that regard.
But he's been more than happy to talk about Malcolm Butler this week.
Two days before Butler's scheduled visit to New Orleans as a restricted free agent, Payton shared with the Associated Press that the hero of Super Bowl XLIX was in fact visiting the Saints facilities.
Then on Friday, once Butler's visit was complete, the Saints head coach joined a San Diego radio station to discuss what he thinks of the the 27-year-old.
"When you watch the tape," Payton told Xtra1360, "he plays with a chip on his shoulder."
Payton added that he was impressed by Butler's rise in the NFL, coming from Vicksburg, Mississippi -- which happens to be very close to New Orleans, Payton noted -- to become one of the league's best at his position.
Why Payton would be so chatty about Butler is anyone's guess.
Maybe he feels like a deal is as good as done and it will be only a matter of time before Butler lands on the Saints roster. Maybe he feels like he needs to continue to recruit Butler even with Butler out of town.
Payton has done nothing illegal or untoward by discussing Butler or his visit because Butler is a free agent. But the reality is that for Butler to end up in New Orleans for 2017 and beyond, he'll probably need to sign his tender with the Patriots first.
The Saints could draw up an offer sheet for Butler to sign, but it seems that is an unlikely scenario as they probably would be unwilling to part with the No. 11 overall pick in this year's draft. Only when Butler has signed his tender with New England can he be traded.