The Saints added another piece to their defensive puzzle Thursday when unrestricted free-agent linebacker Victor Butler agreed to a two-year contract.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Butler is a five-year veteran who played his first four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
Butler, a fourth-round draft pick and the 110th overall selection of the 2009 draft, was coached by new Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in 2011 and ’12 when Ryan served as the Cowboys’ defensive boss.
Butler played in 63 games with two starts and had career totals of 64 tackles, 11 sacks and five passes defensed. He forced three fumbles and recovered one and also had 40 tackles and a forced fumble on special teams.
With the Saints, Butler will compete with converted defensive ends Junior Galette and Martez Wilson for a starting spot in the team’s new 3-4 alignment being implemented by Ryan.
In his final season with the Cowboys, Butler, who was converted to a 3-4 outside linebacker after he played in a 4-3 scheme all four years at Oregon State, had a career-high 24 tackles with three sacks.
Butler was a teammate of newly-acquired Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis at Oregon State, which is coached by former Saints secondary coach Mike Riley. Lewis signed a five-year contract with the Saints on March 14, two days after the free-agency signing period began.
An All-Pac 10 selection as a senior, Butler recorded 65 total tackles and had 12 sacks and 21 tackles for a loss. He also forced four fumbles and recovered one.
Butler visited the Steelers, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles before reaching a deal with the Saints.