It would have been hard to imagine as the confetti fell in Houston just over a month ago that Malcolm Butler would be on the verge of being out of New England just six weeks later, barely removed from winning his second championship as a member of the Patriots.
It’s amazing just how quickly things can change, and now Butler’s future is suddenly in doubt given how things have transpired over the last week.
According to the Associated Press, Butler is scheduled to meet with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, with Ian Rapoport reporting that it’s more than just a discussion to explore the cornerback’s options. Rapoport reports that the two sides have already begun negotiations on a new contract, with the hopes of consummating a deal this week.
Butler is currently a restricted free agent and has a first-round tender placed on him by the Patriots, which for now, he hasn’t signed. However, if New Orleans is offering what he wants and the Patriots are O.K. with making a deal to send him there, it’s possible Butler could sign the tender, which would allow New England to deal him.
The next question would be the type of compensation the Bill Belichick would be willing to accept. The Saints currently have the Patriots 32nd overall selection that they traded in exchange to bring receiver Brandin Cooks to New England, as well as the 11th overall pick in the draft. While an offer sheet that the Patriots could decline to match would yield them a first round pick (the higher of the Staints’ two selections), the fact Belichick has such a good relationship with Saints head coach Sean Payton would more than likely see them skip that process and work out the compensation from there.
Two years ago, Butler was a Super Bowl hero. Now, he might be done in New England.
The only question will be what the Patriots would receive in return. Having just signed free agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore, New England at least has someone they feel can be a quality top corner on their roster if they were to lose Butler. They currently sit without a draft pick in the first two rounds, and it’s possible that by moving Butler, they’ll get back something to change that should a deal come to pass.
Another team reportedly in the mix could be the Houston Texans, with Eric Edholm reporting that the Texans are interested in possibly giving up second-round selection if they can work out a long-term deal. That would seem unlikely given that Belichick’s preference would likely be to send Butler out of the conference, and the fact it might not be a strong enough depending on what the Saints come through with.
Needless to say things are about to get interesting after an already crazy start to free agency this offseason, and it appears that more change is certainly on the way as the Patriots continue building the 2017 version of their roster.
Posted Under: Uncategorized
Tags: 2017 Patriots Free Agency Bill Belichick Malcolm Butler New Orleans Saints Sean Payton Stephon Gilmore