Free agent defensive end/rushing linebacker Victor Butler will sign with the New Orleans Saints, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Butler will be entering his fifth season as a pro and will join the Saints after four seasons as a backup with the Dallas Cowboys.
Butler is a speed rusher at 6'2, 245, and has shown the ability to contribute in passing situations. He amassed 25 tackles, three sacks, and three passes defensed as a reserve in 2012. He has missed just one game in his career, and has totaled 89 tackles with 11 sacks. He should help bolster a Saints defensive line that finished 28th in adjusted sack rate last season, according to Football Outsiders.
The Saints have done surprisingly well in the free agent period, considering the cap limitations they are facing. Defense is priority No. 1, with Drew Brees consistently keeping the Saints' offense productive. The needs on defense start with the line, and adding Butler helps address that.
This is the second major defensive signing the Saints have made. They added cornerback Keenan Lewis earlier. The combination of better pressure on the quarterback and improved coverage on the outside should help New Orleans get off the field on third down.
Before adding Butler, Gene Higginbotham of Saints blog Canal Street Chronicles felt that the Saints were stuck in a free agency "holding pattern." A lot of that probably had to do with the cap situation. New Orleans was already pushing $120 million before this signing with the draft still to go, Spotrac reports.