He was high on New Orleans, having played with Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan for the past two seasons in Dallas, but he wanted to know more. He wanted to learn more about the city and the other coaches and personnel he would be working with if he decided to sign with the Black and Gold.
On his visit with the Saints last Friday, he had lunch with Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis and other staff members in the team cafeteria. That lunch ended up being one of the determining factors in his decision to agree to terms with the Saints on Thursday.
“Lunch with Mickey was phenomenal,” said Butler. “I know it was a business lunch, but it was more of a personal talk. Mickey asked about my family, my background and how I liked New Orleans so far. He really took the time to get to know me as a person and I respect that. When you bring somebody into an organization you want to know what kind of person they are.
“I know Rob Ryan well and I am familiar with his scheme, but after sitting down and talking to Sean Payton and the other guys I felt it was a great fit. "
While visiting the four different NFL cities, Butler said he kept thinking about one factor that would narrow his decision.
“The chance to come in and compete is all I wanted in this free agency opportunity,” said Butler. “After sitting down and talking with everybody, I felt like my best chance to compete and be a part of a winning team was in New Orleans.”
Butler appeared in 63 contests with two starts for the Cowboys and totaled 65 tackles (48 solo), 11 sacks, five passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, adding 40 stops and one forced fumble on special teams. Butler will bring a presence on the edge of the Saints new 3-4 defensive alignment and look to add pressure to opposing quarterbacks.
Butler said what he appreciates most about Ryan’s scheme is his ability to put his players in position to succeed.
“I like Rob Ryan’s system because he puts players in position to make big-time plays,” said Butler. “He knows so much about this game and the opponent that we were going to play the next week. From week to week, he is doing his homework and really helping us in our film sessions. He wants you to be the most prepared you can be on Sundays. That’s what I like about him.”
The only time Butler had visited New Orleans prior to his free agency visit was during his rookie season in 2009 when the Cowboys ended the Saints' bid for an undefeated season with a 24-17 win in a nationally televised game.
Butler’s first visit to the Crescent City isn’t one Saints fans are going to want to reminisce on. When reminded, Butler joked “You guys won the Super Bowl that year so it wasn’t all bad.”
Butler said during that 2009 contest, the fans left a lasting impact on him.
“The people seem all about their Saints in New Orleans,” said Butler. “They are a lively bunch of people that want to have a good time and watch good football. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”