Here are today’s top stories:
Stars Missing From Day One of Voluntary Workouts – There were a couple of notable names missing from the team’s first day of voluntary workouts on Monday, but it sounds like it will be a short absence.
According to CSNNE’s Tom Curran, Tom Brady and Malcolm Butler were missing from the team’s first day of the voluntary offseason sessions but Brady is reportedly expected to be back in the building today after returning from a family vacation.
As for Butler, Curran reports that he’s in the middle of spending time celebrating a birthday with his family, and he’s also expected to be back in Foxboro this week.
The news about Butler’s attendance later this week is encouraging, especially given the uncertainty surrounding his status for the upcoming season. He’s currently coming up on the April 21st deadline for him to sign an offer sheet with another team, which would seem unlikely at this point. The only question is going to be whether or not he signs his current tender before the draft, which would then either open up the opportunity for him to be traded, or for him to hopefully simply play in New England in 2017.
But, for now, the fact that he’ll be there soon is definitely a step in the right direction.
It will likely take quite a bit to pry Butler loose from New England.
GM Speculates on Price For Butler – While there has been quite a bit of talk about what it would take for the Patriots to consummate a trade for Butler, one NFL GM speculated on what New Orleans would need to give up in order to get a deal done to land the veteran cornerback.
Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik said during a piece on ESPN Insider that it will take more than the Patriots former 32nd overall pick to pry Butler away from New England.
“Right now, New Orleans owns the 11th overall pick and the Patriots’ first-rounder (32nd overall) after the Brandin Cooks trade,” wrote Dominik. “New England, meanwhile, doesn’t have a selection in the first two rounds of the draft. The Patriots appear to be open to trading Butler, who’s one year away from hitting unrestricted free agency, if they can recoup a first-rounder. The issue: New England doesn’t want its 32nd pick back in return for Butler, and New Orleans doesn’t want to deal the 11th. The only way this deal gets done is if the Saints trade down from 11 to somewhere around picks 16-19. That could be a nice middle ground for each team. I don’t think any teams other than the Saints are interested in Butler at the moment. This is certainly a situation to watch on draft night.”
He also believes that a deal for Garoppolo is “just not going to happen” because the Patriots see the value at quarterback that the former Eastern Iliinois standout brings as insurance if something happened to Brady and “you don’t just get rid of guys like that.”
Certainly an interesting perspective from someone in the right position. We’ll have to see how it plays out in the coming weeks since if a deal doesn’t get done, the signs only further point to Butler sticking round.
White House Visit On Tap – The Patriots will be visiting our nation’s capital on Wednesday, which is obviously one of the perks of winning a championship. However, as we know, there will be a few players missing when the time comes.
Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Chris Long are among those who aren’t expected to attend, with LeGarrette Blount, Martellus Bennett and Alan Branch rounding out a list of six who had already expressed their decision to skip this one.
Devin McCourty expressed his opinion on the matter in the above video, saying that he knew right away that he wasn’t going.
“For me it was simple. I don’t believe in excluding other people,” McCourty said. “Right away, I know I wasn’t going because it was something I thought about before we even won the game.”
Brady, who is expected to be on hand Wednesday, previously said that while he missed the one in 2014 due to scheduling, politics haven’t ever come to mind.
“Putting politics aside it never really was a political thing — at least it never was for me,” said Brady. “It was just always something that was a privilege to be able to do because it really meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team and your teammates.”
“Everyone has their own choice,” Brady added. “It’s an offseason and these days are valuable for everybody. You only get so much time with your family and friends. If people don’t wanna go, they don’t wanna go, and that’s their choice.”
McCourty is hopeful he and Butler will be together in 2017.
McCourty to Butler: “Do What’s Best For Yourself” – McCourty was asked about Butler on CSNNE’s Quick Slants, with the veteran safety saying that he hopes to see his teammate back, but that Butler needs to be the one to make that decision.
“The thing is, with us, we’re all close enough that we don’t have to tell anybody we want them back,” McCourty said. “Everybody knows how much we enjoy playing with each other. I just tell him . . . ‘Do what’s best for yourself, whether that’s back here — which I would love — or if it’s somewhere else I’m not going to hate you forever.”
“You gotta understand, man, this business, contract-wise it’s individual-based. The secondary doesn’t get paid for one guy’s contract. It’s just your contract. So you always have to look out for what’s best for you and your family.”
McCourty did say that he expects Butler to be back.
“I expect him to be back, probably,” said McCourty. “Obviously I don’t know. I haven’t really had any contact with anyone other than just laughing and joking text messages. We’ll see what happens. Exciting time. I always tell people if other teams want you and your team wants you it’s a good thing. He just has to have fun and enjoy it.”