PHOENIX — The New England Patriots won’t be acquiring the 11th overall pick in the upcoming draft for Malcolm Butler.

On Wednesday, during the NFC coaches’ breakfast at the NFL’s owners meetings, New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton disclosed that his team will not be signing Butler to an offer sheet. The Pro Bowl cornerback traveled to New Orleans and spent two days there this month, but in the event the Saints signed him – and the Patriots didn’t match their offer – New Orleans would lose the 11th overall pick in April’s draft.

“We had a chance to visit with him,” Payton said. “Currently, to my understanding, he hasn’t signed his tender. We can sign him to an offer sheet, but I don’t think we’re going to do that and give up the 11th pick. In fact, I know that we’re not going to do that. It’s just kind of a – it is what it is right now.”

Wednesday’s news doesn’t mean necessarily that Butler won’t end up in New Orleans. The likelihood that the Patriots were going to be able to land pick No. 11 for the cornerback was always slim. In order for Butler to end up with the Saints, the cornerback would need to sign his one-year tender (worth $3.91 million) and then the Patriots would have to trade him.

Although that’s possible, Payton said it “would just be speculation” at this point. The biggest hurdle at the moment is that Butler is a restricted free agent so the Patriots can’t even have trade talks with the Saints since the player isn’t technically on their roster.

It’s unclear where Butler will be next season, but the interest from the Saints is very real.

“It’s ongoing, if you will,” Payton said. “Obviously, you can’t have any (trade) discussions with New England because New England hasn’t signed the player. So for us, it was a chance to meet him, put him on the board, find out how much football he knows. He is from Mississippi. I think it was a good step.”

At the moment, Butler does have a deadline. If he can’t find a team willing to sign him to an offer sheet by April 21, he’ll essentially have to sign the one-year tender. Although $3.91 million is a hefty raise from the $600,000 he made last season, Butler would prefer to be paid like a top-10 cornerback in the league.

At this rate, however, it looks like his best course of action would be to play on the one-year tender and then test the market as an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Although his next destination is up in the air, there still is a chance Butler remains with the Patriots for at least this coming season. A defense pairing Butler with fellow Pro Bowler Stephon Gilmore would give the Patriots one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL. Of course, if the Saints entice the Patriots with enough draft capital, Butler could be traded.

For the Patriots, it comes down to their price. After acquiring Brandin Cooks from the Saints, New Orleans currently owns the Patriots’ first-round pick (32nd overall). After trading for Kony Ealy, the Patriots are also without a second-round selection. In the event they want to get back into the first two rounds, trading Butler would be enticing – especially if they don’t believe they’ll be able to extend him beyond 2017.

On Wednesday, Payton was asked about potentially trading the 32nd pick.

“You know, honestly, it’d be hard to say well, we’re just going to sit at 32. You do have some flexibility,” Payton said. “I think overall having five picks in the first 103 picks provides that flexibility as well where you can certainly move up or move back. But we felt like there was some depth at certain positions in this draft and trying to get a little firepower for ammo in those first 103 picks was important.”

Unless another team wants to give up their first-round pick, Butler’s next step looks like it’ll be signing that one-year tender.

After that, it’s up to the Saints to convince the Patriots to deal their cornerback.

“(Butler) is a guy that we thought enough of in this process,” Payton said. “We’ll see though. I think it might take a bit of time.”