Sean Payton: Trading Adrian Peterson was 'common sense'

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METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said the Adrian Peterson trade with the Arizona Cardinals was done "just using common sense" and called it a "win-win" for both teams and Peterson himself.

The Cardinals had a need and an opportunity for a player like Peterson that the Saints didn't -- especially with the emergence of rookie third-round draft pick Alvin Kamara as both a runner and receiver.

And Payton said he was "happy" for Peterson that the opportunity came up, and that the two of them have had a "fantastic" relationship despite Peterson having desired a bigger role.

"And we had a chance to get a draft pick next year," Payton said of the conditional sixth-round pick that Arizona will owe New Orleans if Peterson meets a certain unspecified criteria. "I know Arizona was short at this position, and there's a confidence level we have with how Mark [Ingram] and how Alvin are playing.

"But look, in my discussions yesterday with [Cardinals general manager] Steve Keim, it was like, 'Hey, this guy still has it. And here's what he does well, and we've seen it. It's just a little crowded right now with the third back.'"

Payton again referenced that the NFL has free agency before the draft -- unlike the NBA -- as a way of suggesting that the Saints' needs or roles changed after they drafted Kamara.

But when asked if that means the Saints would not have signed Peterson if they knew they were going to draft Kamara, Payton said it was too much of a hypothetical question.

"Well, listen, had I known I could draft Kamara and Kamara was gonna be good as a runner and as a receiver ... all of those things are fantasy," Payton said. "Obviously you want depth at that position, and we feel like we still have that. So we kind of go from there. But Adrian's been fantastic through the process.

"Adrian and I have talked a ton each week. We'll spend time just up here in the office just talking about our system, different things, his role. And our relationship, I would say, has been fantastic. And it was an opportunity, really, where he was gonna obviously get somewhere and be featured more. And I'm happy that that opportunity's come up and we were able to make a trade," Payton said.

Payton added that he and Peterson talked Tuesday about the "good news/bad news" aspects of the trade -- including the fact that Peterson will return to London later this month and stay in the same hotel and practice on the same fields where the Saints just were two weeks ago.

Peterson, 32, had 27 carries for 81 yards -- an average of 3.0 yards per carry -- in four games during his first season with the Saints (2-2). His longest run was 11 yards.

He played only six snaps with four carries for 4 yards in the Saints' last game -- a 20-0 win vs. the Miami Dolphins in London in Week 4.

Running back Mark Ingram insisted all along that he wouldn't shy away from the competition after the Saints signed Peterson. So while he wished Peterson the best, he no doubt must have felt some pride as well that he never relinquished his leading-man role.

"That's just how I was brought up, man. I'm always gonna compete, never shy away from competition, never shy away from anything," Ingram said. "So no matter who is here or wherever I'm at, I'm always gonna compete, I'm gonna fight and put my best foot forward. So it just is what it is. I mean, he's a great player, he still has a lot of juice left in the tank. He can go. I'm hoping that he goes and proves it in Arizona. But it just doesn't matter to me. Whoever it is and wherever I'm at, I'm always gonna compete."

Asked if the trade makes the roles in New Orleans' backfield more defined, Kamara said, "I obviously texted him and wished him the best, and just thanked him for everything he gave to me, taught me. But it's a business, and it is what it is."?

Peterson agreed to a two-year, incentive-laden deal with the Saints about a week before the draft, which included only $3.5 million guaranteed, including a $2.5 million signing bonus that will still count for $1.25 million against the Saints' 2018 salary cap.

Payton mentioned undrafted rookie running back Trey Edmunds (who made the roster as a special-teams specialist) and second-year practice squad running back Daniel Lasco as two players who could fill the Saints' backup needs.