Saints sign ex-Cowboys LB Victor Butler

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, right, talks to Cowboys' Victor Butler during an NFL training camp practice, Sunday, July 31, 2011, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) Show caption
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, right, talks to Cowboys' Victor Butler during an NFL training camp practice, Sunday, July 31, 2011, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

The New Orleans 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 in 2009, 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 starting spots at outside linebacker in the team’s new 3-4 alignment. 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 new 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 period began.

As an All-Pac-10 selection as a senior, Butler recorded 65 total tackles and added 12 sacks and 21 tackles for a loss. He forced four fumbles and recovered one.

Butler visited the Steelers, Cleveland and Philadelphia before reaching a deal with the Saints.